The NHL announced on Tuesday that Colorado Avalanche team captain Gabriel Landeskog became the latest professional athlete to speak on behalf of the You Can Play Project, making the league the first professional sports league in North America to have each of its member teams represented by players voicing support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender athletes and fans.
"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 in a statement. "Every major men's sports league has been represented in a You Can Play video and now every team in one of the world's premier sports leagues has actively participated. This support from professional leagues has a positive impact in locker rooms and anywhere sports are played."
Landeskog, the Avalanche's 21-year-old team captain and a member of the 2014 Swedish Olympic men's hockey team, appears in a video filmed with players from local high schools as part of the Colorado High School Activities Association's (CHSAA) 'You Can Play, Colorado!' initiative - designed to promote diversity and inclusion while lessening bullying in sports and student activities.
"Young athletes everywhere look up to National Hockey League players as leaders on inclusion," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "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."
Dozens of players representing the NHL, Major League Soccer, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Football League and a number of minor leagues and college teams have made You Can Play videos in support of LGBT inclusion in sports.