Friday, 6 October 2017

A Great Honour

It's hard to believe that it's nearly been eight since we lost Brendan Burke. Burke, the youngest son of Flames' executive Brian Burke, was a student at the University of Miami-Ohio when he was involved in an automobile accident in Indiana that saw him pass away as a result of the accident. Being of a hockey family, Burke joined the RedHawks as a student manager in 2009, and he became popular with the team for his upbeat and jovial personality. He often was involved with recruiting, assisting the coaches, reviewing game film, and scouting players. Needless to say, his loss was a major one on that fateful February 5, 2010 day.

Mark me down as a fan of the Miami-Ohio RedHawks for their efforts tonight in celebrating Burke's life and contributions not only to the program, but to hockey in general. Burke, who came out as a homosexual man while at the school, raised significant awareness and spoke out against homophobia and the stigma over it in professional sports. It was his strength and courage that led his father and his brother, Patrick, founding the You Can Play organization which works to find tolerance and acceptance from all athletes in all sports when it comes to homosexual athletes.

Here is what the RedHawks will wear tonight and all weekend in honour of their friend and teammate Brendan Burke against the Providence Friars in their series.
That is an outstanding jersey, and I would be proud to wear it. The patches, representing the memory of Burke and his legacy in the You Can Play organization, signify his importance to the program, and the rainbow stripes on the sleeves and hem are a reminder of the rainbow flag that represent the LGBTQ community for which Burke was a major advocate after he came out. I'd be honoured to wear this jersey in memory of a great man in Brendan Burke.

Win, lose, or draw this weekend, the University of Miami-Ohio RedHawks should be commended for their efforts to remember a friend and continue to fight for equality among all people. This jersey is a visual reminder that there are things bigger and more important than the score on the scoreboard when it comes to the lives of those playing and working in the game.

The memory of Brendan Burke should be celebrated this way each and every year, and let's hope that the University of Miami-Ohio becomes a leader as an institution of higher learning in supporting the LGBTQ community. Brendan Burke would have wanted it that way.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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