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NHL forward Matt Hendricks releases anti-homophobia video for You Can Play

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NHL player Matt Hendricks released a video Tuesday in support of You Can Play, an organization dedicated to combating homophobia in sports.

In the 30-second clip, the Washington Capitals forward explains why teams should focus on an athlete’s skills, not the player’s sexual orientation. The public service announcement debuted on the Washington Capitals’ homepage, You Can Play’s website, and YouTube.

“Hockey takes courage,” said Hendricks. “It takes courage to block a shot, pay the price in the corner, or to fight for your teammates.”

“It shouldn’t take courage to go into your own locker room,” he said, adding that it’s time to end “casual homophobia in our arenas.”

The video is the first one for the (possibly) upcoming NHL season, which is scheduled to start in October.  Within hours of the video’s publication, fans began to show support for Hendricks’s words on Twitter.

“My favorite Capitol doing the right for hockey, humanity. Awesome!,” tweeted Dan Reed.

You Can Play released its first PSA last March, featuring organization cofounder and Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke, and his father, Brian Burke, who is the Toronto Maple Leafs’ general manager. That well-received video racked up more than 215,000 views on YouTube.

Patrick’s younger brother, Brendan, grabbed headlines for being an openly gay equipment manager for the Miami of Ohio hockey team in 2009. Brendan died in 2010 in a car accident, but the organization aims to continue his message of wiping out homophobia in sports.

Various other NHL players have released You Can Play PSAs within the past year, including Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan Jones, Vancouver Canucks’ Ryan Kesler, and 2012 Stanley Cup champions team captain Dustin Brown.

Photo via YouTube