In September 2012, Toronto Marlies Head Coach Dallas Eakins invited You Can Play co-founder Patrick Burke and gay hockey player Scott Heggart to address the team. At the end of the presentation, the players asked if they could find ways to get involved with You Can Play that went beyond making a video.
At their request, You Can Play created pledge for the Marlies to take as a base for future actions. Every player and coach pledged to support their teammates, coaches, and fans – gay or straight. The pledge was printed on two signs, which every player and coach autographed. The are to be hung in the Ricoh Coliseum – one in the locker room to remind the players of their pledge, and one on the concourse to educate fans – a sign that “racist, sexist, and homophobic language have no place in our arena.”
The team’s video airs during games to show LGBT players, coaches, and fans, that the Toronto Marlies welcome them into an environment free from harassment and intimidation.
The You Can Play Pledge:
“The Toronto Marlies pledge to support all of our coaches, teammates, and fans- gay or straight. We stand for the idea that athletes should be judged for their character, work ethic, and talent. Not their sexual orientation. Racist, homophobic, and sexist language have no place in our arena.
Everyone contributes. Everyone is valued. Everyone matters.
We pledge: To make our locker room a place of unity.
We pledge: To support and encourage each other on and off the ice.
We pledge: To make Toronto proud to have us represent them.
On behalf of the Toronto Marlies, We Pledge: If you can cheer, you can cheer. If you can coach, you can coach. If you can play, You Can Play.”