Published on Dec 11, 2012
In September 2012, Toronto Marlies Head Coach Dallas Eakins invited You Can Play co-founder Patrick Burke and out gay hockey player Scott Heggart to address the team. At the end of the presentation, the players asked if they could find ways to get involved with You Can Play that went beyond just making a video.
At their request, You Can Play created a pledge for the Marlies. Every player and coach pledged to support their teammates, coaches, and fans - gay or straight. The pledge was printed on two signs, which every player and coach autographed. The signs will be hung in the Ricoh Coliseum - one in the locker room to remind the players of the pledge, and one on the concourse to educate fans - a sign that "racist, sexist, and homophobic language have no place in our arena." This video will be aired during games to show LGBT players, coaches, and fans, that the Toronto Marlies welcome them into an environment free from harassment and intimidation.
In December of 2012 spectators, fans and regulars at Ricoh Coliseum wanted to join the Marlies in their pledge to provide a welcoming environment. They too wanted to lend their support and commitment. Numerous names were added to the pledge, both men and women, young and old.
The You Can Play Pledge:
"The Toronto Marlies pledge to support all of our coaches, teammates, and fans- gay or straight. We stand for the idea that athletes should be judged for their character, work ethic, and talent. Not their sexual orientation. Racist, homophobic, and sexist language have no place in our arena.
Everyone contributes. Everyone is valued. Everyone matters.
We pledge: To make our locker room a place of unity.
We pledge: To support and encourage each other on and off the ice.
We pledge: To make Toronto proud to have us represent them.
On behalf of the Toronto Marlies, We Pledge:
If you can cheer, you can cheer.
If you can coach, you can coach.
If you can play, You Can Play."