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Brian and Brendan Burke discuss ESPN article on NHL on TSN

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TSN.ca Staff
11/25/2009 9:47:08 PM
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Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke and his son Brendan joined NHL on TSN's James Duthie Wednesday night to discuss the recent ESPN article where Brendan announced he was gay.

Brendan told his father he was gay two years ago and while Brian was surprised by the news, he was supportive.

"I said, 'It won't change anything Brendan. It doesn't change our view, we love you and we're proud of you. It doesn't change anything in my mind and it never will.'"

Brendan, a student manager with the Miami University (Ohio) hockey team, also received support from the players and coaching staff at school.

"I can't say enough good things about Miami University and the hockey team there. They knew me for a couple of years before I came out so I think for most of the players I was still Burkie and was still the same person, this just added a new dimension to it," said Brendan Burke. "They weren't going to judge me on it because they knew me as a person and knew my character."

Brendan is hoping his story will give others the confidence to come forward.  

"I think it's important my story is told to people because there are a lot of gay athletes out there and gay people working in pro sports that deserve to know there are safe environments where people are supportive regardless of your sexual orientation."
 
When asked if professional hockey was prepared for an openly gay player or front office person, the veteran NHL executive made it clear the Toronto Maple Leafs are ready.

"I can't speak for others, but I have to guess there other teams that share my view of this which is I judge people on their talent, the merit they bring to the position and not their lifestyle, not their choices." 

Brendan told Duthie said he has received encouragement from many people around hockey and believes things are improving within the game when it comes to being judged on one's sexual orientation.

Brian Burke (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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