Characters Unite

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Characters Unite Award Winners

Patrick Burke


Patrick Burke is a 2006 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a 2013 graduate of New England Law Boston. Patrick has spent seven years working as a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers. Burke’s hockey lineage includes his father, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, and his late younger brother, Brendan, who was an openly gay member of the Miami University hockey team.

Patrick co-founded the You Can Play Project in honor of his late brother Brendan Burke, a devoted hockey player who came out as openly gay while serving as a student manager of the Miami University hockey team. By writing and speaking openly about his experiences as a young, gay athlete, Brendan served as an inspiration to LGBT youth, and a great example of inclusiveness. A warm and genuine person with a glow about him and a strong sense of justice, Brendan was tragically killed in a car accident in 2010.

In only a year of existence, the You Can Play Project to combat homophobia in sports has spearheaded historic changes in both the culture and the rules of professional sports leagues and universities. Among other efforts, the group is releasing PSAs featuring professional athletes affirming the message that LGBT athletes around the world should be afforded equal opportunity and judged only for their talent, character and work ethic in their sport. You Can Play also announced a formal partnership with the National Hockey League, which is meant to secure a more inclusive community, devoid of casual homophobic language in locker rooms and on the ice, at all levels of hockey.

Patrick has been nationally recognized for his work as a straight ally and hopes that through the You Can Play Project, teams, players, media and fans will join in the effort to promote an inclusive environment in sports.

Patrick Burke (Image To Come)