Hockey is never about just hockey. It simply can't be. Nothing in our world exists in a vacuum, and that includes professional sports. There's a reason, after all, we often look up to athletes: they're public figures with a voice, and it's up to them to use that voice wisely.
That's just what the Chicago Blackhawks are doing as they've partnered with You Can Play, an organization dedicated to removing homophobia from the world of sports. In it, Scott Darling and Niklas Hjalmarsson speak up:
"We believe athletes should be judged by their character, work ethic, and talent," Darling says in the video, "not their sexual orientation, or gender identity."
It's particularly nice to hear Darling include gender identity, as the "T" part of "LGBT" often goes unheard. And as both Darling and Hjalmarsson want to stress in the video: everyone is welcome, from players to fans.
"On this team, we're a family," Hjalmarsson concludes. Considering how huge the Blackhawks fanbase is, hopefully, this video will reach a lot of people - and help them, too.