The Portland Pirates today became the fourth American Hockey League team to take the You Can Play Pledge as part of the ongoing relationship between the AHL and the You Can Play Project, which works to end homophobia in sports.
The Pledge was created by the You Can Play Project as a way to encourage organizations and players to speak up against homophobia in the arena and in the locker room. In the AHL, the Toronto Marlies, Peoria Rivermen and Providence Bruins have also taken the Pledge.
You Can Play is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. The You Can Play Project was started by former Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke and Patrick Burke to fight homophobia in sports in memory of Brian’s son and Patrick’s brother Brendan Burke, who passed away in a tragic motor vehicle accident in 2010. At the time of his passing, Brendan Burke was the student manager for the Miami University RedHawks men’s ice hockey team.
Pirates forward Andy Miele has a personal connection to the You Can Play Project as he serves as a board member. While in college, Miele was a member of the Miami University hockey team, winning the Hobey Baker Memorial Award in 2011 as the nation’s best hockey player.
“It’s great that the Pirates have joined the You Can Play cause by taking the Pledge,” said Miele. “I hope that our efforts, as well as the efforts of other teams that have taken the Pledge, will help raise awareness for You Can Play and help eliminate homophobia in sports.”
Appearing in the video (in order of appearance) are Pirates players Andy Miele, Chris Summers, Alexandre Bolduc, Ethan Werek, Brendan Shinnimin, Chris Brown, equipment manager John Krouse and head coach Ray Edwards.
The Portland Pirates pledge video was produced, filmed, and edited entirely by the team.
For more information or to take the You Can Play Pledge, visit www.youcanplayproject.org.