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The one thing I don’t hate about the Toronto Maple Leafs

May 19, 2010

When our beloved Maple Leafs hired Brian Burke to be their president and general manager back in 2008, I decided it was very fitting. “A douchey GM to go with a douchey team and its douchey fanbase,” I may have said, although you can’t prove it.

Sometimes we forget that public personalities are people. In charge of the Toronto Maple Leafs? Jerk. GM of the US Olympic team? Pompous jerk. Signed our Mike Komisarek to an inflated contract? Pompous Mike-stealing jerk. Grieving father, advocate for LGBT rights? Pomp- err…

If you haven’t already seen this on Puck Daddy or the Globe and Mail, Brian Burke was the keynote speaker for the launch of, an initiative that aims to make school environments a safe place for everyone no matter what their sexual or gender identity. Read the story. I mean it.

I caught the tail end of a CBC interview with Burke last night, and he reiterated that gay players and employees have a place in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. I know, easier said than done. I don’t know if the locker room will ever be a safe environment for a gay hockey player, at least in our lifetimes, and it’s unlikely that hockey operations at the NHL level will be open to gay executives any time soon. But you have to respect and admire Mr Truculent’s message, and his commitment to keeping his son’s legacy going strong.

Your turn, Rest Of The NHL.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. therangersfan permalink
    May 19, 2010 5:32 pm

    I wish I still had spies in gay bars in Canada to spot the NHLers that frequent them..

    “Oh, I’m here with some friends who wanted to check it out.”

    • theactivestick permalink*
      May 19, 2010 9:13 pm

      You hear things about certain players… but until they can feel safe coming out, we will never know for sure. It’s way, way, way overdue but I still wouldn’t want to be the first one to go ahead and do it.

  2. Harry M permalink
    May 19, 2010 10:41 pm

    Burke is a great father.

    Here is a good story on a gay rugby player I read in SI a few weeks ago.

  3. May 20, 2010 10:59 am

    I’ll probably never forget the day that Burke’s son passed away. Early that morning I had received an email from a friend, linking to a youtube video of a parody of Burke at last summer’s draft at the Bell Center. The video had some dude overdubbing Burke’s voice…it was hysterical. So I post it to twitter and people start retweeting because it’s so funny. Not 15 minutes later we start getting news of Burke’s son’s death. I was mortified. Here are all these RTs of me making fun of Burke, simultaneous with his son’s death. Yikes. Thankfully nobody was offended.

    In the days that followed, and on the heels of the story of Burke defending and embracing his son’s choices, my respect grew for him. A lot. As a dad and as a man.

    He’s still a douchey GM for the douchiest of fanbases of the douchiest of teams! ; )

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