On Wednesday, January 8, the Colorado Avalanche team became the latest of many NHL teams to support the You Can Play project, which intends to educate athletes and fans to eradicate discrimination from the sport.
Team captain Gabriel Landeskog announced his support for the initiative in a video released on January 8 alongside players from Mountain Vista High School (Highlands Ranch, CO) and Regis Jesuit High School (Aurora, CO).
The initiative is aimed at promoting diversity and acceptance for all players regardless of race, sexuality, background or religion. It intends to push the idea that they should be judged solely on their ability to play the game, without prejudice.
“Having full and, more importantly, ongoing participation from the NHL, is a milestone for acceptance of all athletes at every level of play and sport,” said You Can Play executive director Wade Davis.
Now every major men’s sports league has been represented in a You Can Play project in North America, which is expected to create a positive impact on the sport.
Of those, the NHL is the only league where every team has been represented in a You Can Play project.
In a statement, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, “Young athletes everywhere look up to National Hockey League players as leaders on inclusion.”
He added, “Our players, our Clubs and every member of the NHL family will strive to support important initiatives such as You Can Play in our local communities and around the world.”