by Patrick Hoffman on 11/03/09 at 01:21 PM ET
From Justin Bourne of USA Today:
The lack of a homosexual presence in hockey must mean one of two things: either homosexual men don’t play the game or they don’t feel comfortable admitting it — in which case I, and my brethren, were offending some teammates with our close-mindedness, and furthering what must have been unsettled feelings of fear and general exclusion.
For us as a culture, that means another two things. That either we need scientists doing research on professional hockey players ASAP, because apparently there’s a link between our sport and sexuality. Or, much more realistically, we need to alter the culture of hockey, because homosexuals are being forced to play entire careers masquerading as people they’re not.
As many times as I used these slurs, I heard it back tenfold. As well as I fit in behind the doors of a dressing room, I had pursuits that made me seem different. I kept a journal while I played. I’m into piano music and reading. In the hockey world, that’s your basic formula for eliciting more comments about sexual orientation than acting in “Rent.” It’s always the first shot fired.
Hockey culture is something I’ve known and loved, but I’m not oblivious to the disconnect between how players and coaches act behind that dressing room door and how society expects them to act in public. Since we have to change something about how we act and what we say when we leave the team room, we’re probably acting improperly in the first place. And during my playing days, I was aware that was the case.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.