The hockey world was stunned and saddened four years ago by the passing of Brendan Burke, the son of current Calgary Flames president of hockey operations and acting general manager Brian Burke. Once a student manager for the Miami University hockey team, Brendan is remembered for his heart and courage as a pioneer who in a December 2009 article by ESPN's John Buccigross revealed he was gay, discussed the acceptance of his sexuality by his family and his team and spoke out against homophobia in professional sports.
In tribute to Brendan, Brian and older brother Patrick founded the You Can Play campaign that encourages to judge athletes on talent, heart and work ethic, and not sexual orientation. To this day, Brendan is universally loved and respected, and various names in the hockey community took to social media to honor his memory.
Miss Brendan every day, but today is always the worst day of the year. Thanks to all for the love and support the past four years.— Patrick Burke (@BurkieYCP) February 5, 2014
We lost human rights pioneer Brendan Burke four years ago today, but there's no losing his legacy. It flourishes through @YouCanPlayTeam— Adam Proteau (@Proteautype) February 5, 2014