The National Hockey League and its players union have announced a partnership with the You Can Play Project, because, in the words of Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players’ Assn., “it’s the right thing to do.”

As Dave Zirin writes on The Nation, this puts pressure on other leagues in the sports world, “that longtime bulwark of homophobia, heteronormative socialization, and ‘no homo’ jokes,” to get with the times.

On its website, the NHL goes into some of the specifics of the new pact:

The official partnership with You Can Play includes a significant commitment to education and training for teams, players, media and fans plus the production and broadcast of more public service announcements.

[…] You Can Play will conduct seminars at the NHL’s rookie symposium to educate young prospects on LGBT issues. In addition, You Can Play will make its resources and personnel available to each individual team as desired.

The NHLPA and NHL also will work with You Can Play to integrate the project into their Behavioral Health Program, enabling players to confidentially seek counseling or simply ask questions regarding matters of sexual orientation.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer.

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