On Saturday, October 19th, the Florida Panthers hosted an event at the BB&T center for LGBT players and fans. The Panthers team is one of the first teams to incorporate a new "You Can Play" project which was introduced by the NHL. All of the national LGBT community was invited to attend the event this past weekend.
Randy Moeller, a Panthers broadcaster commented on the event, "Kids today and adults need to feel comfortable playing all types of sports. It doesn't matter what your background is, it's all about diversity, and that's where I think the Panthers have always been that way."
Some members of the Panther squad are already familiar with the "You Can Play" project. Panther defenseman Brian Campbell was featured in a video promoting the position of inclusion throughout the league. Campbell later commented on his experience;
"You know it was something that I believe in, that everyone should believe in. Pretty much sums it up with what is says: No matter who you are, what you are, and what you believe in, if you're good to go and play, then you should be out there playing." The video can be viewed below:
Campbell agreed, "If it's going to make out team a better team or the league or anything, I think it's a great program and I give a lot of credit to the people who all started it up."
The "You Can Play" project was co-founded by NHL Director of Player Safety Patrick Burke. His inspiration came from his older brother who came out three months before losing his life in an automobile accident. Now he has dedicated his work and life for the LGBT community to create a meaningful impact through athletics.