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You Can Play: Sharks’ Wingels voices support for Jason Collins

Apr 30, 2013, 1:31 AM EDT

San Jose Sharks v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels spoke in support of NBA player Jason Collins, who openly disclosed he is gay, becoming the first active male athlete in any of the four major sports leagues in North America to do so.

Wingels is a member of the advisory board for the You Can Play Project, which was formed in 2012.

“I think it is a monumental day. It’s very encouraging for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community and more importantly sports in general,” Wingels told the San Jose Mercury News.

“This is a day that’s been coming for a while. For an athlete to feel comfortable in his sport says a lot. We’ll see where it goes from here.”

As per the report in the San Jose Mercury News, Wingels was once a teammate of the late Brendan Burke, who came out in 2009.

On April 5, the You Can Play Project wrote an open letter on its website to the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, asking for reporters involved to consider selecting Wingels for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Here is a paragraph from the online letter. (For the full version, click here)

Simply put, without Tommy, there would be no You Can Play Project. We can say this honestly, and we can say it for many reasons. Tommy’s unwavering support of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community in the sports world began at Miami University with his support of the late Brendan Burke. Brendan’s story is now well known in the hockey world, but the role of the Miami players in the story is often underemphasized. Without the support of his wonderful Miami teammates, Brendan would not have been in a position to share his story with the rest of the hockey world. Tommy, in his position as captain, worked with the rest of the team to ensure that Brendan felt safe and welcomed in the Redhawks locker room.


  1. trbowman - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:48 AM

    Jason Collins is just looking for attention. He’s a totally irrelevant player whose NBA career will soon be over. At least he’ll go out as some type of hero. Maybe he’ll even get a book published. Smart business decision.

    • sjsblitz - Apr 30, 2013 at 5:11 AM

      You’re a tool

      • ibieiniid - Apr 30, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        the people that can’t even show the man respect for sticking his neck out and being brave: a**holes.

        i can’t tell you how many times i read yesterday “how is this news?” and yet, Amanda Bynes’ new haircut is still popping up on my google news top headlines.

        sigh, this world.

  2. hockeywithdrawal - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:55 AM

    Sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with basketball, with hockey, or with any sport. No preference, for OR against, should ever be given, based on it, and good LORD I’d love to stop hearing about it…about who is, and now the wave of ‘who supports’…blah. Why didn’t Wingel speak up in support of Sean Avery’s dress line?

    I feel heartless, but I believe there is a growing mass of people that just don’t give a sh*t…and I believe whole-heartedly that if EVERYONE didn’t give a sh*t the world would be a better place…you’re gay, cool…thanks for letting me know…now please never do it again. I also couldn’t possibly care less about what Don Cherry thinks about women in men’s dressing rooms, but in general I’m ok with anyone paving the way for eventually allowing men into female dressing rooms…just as observers.

    Playoffs start TONIGHT, my b*tches! Zip the lip and drop the puck!

    • redmosquito16 - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:19 AM

      Did you really just compare Sean Avery’s business to another man’s sexual orientation? Wow… The world would be a better place if more people were heartless & didn’t give a sh*t? You CAN’T be serious with this nonsense.

      The ONE thing you are correct about is that sexual orientation has nothing to do w/ sport. Just as the majority of professional athletes’ love of another man, Jesus, has nothing to do with it. Do you also cast aspersions on these athletes as well?

      Members of the LGBT community have been oppressed, ridiculed and downright hated for decade, a lot of which comes from the aforementioned followers of the Jesus fellow. That’s why it’s important that they be uplifted and supported in any & all ways possible. They’re human beings, just like you & I.

      You’re the product of billions of years of evolutionary success. F*cking act like it.

      • redmosquito16 - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:26 AM


      • hockeywithdrawal - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:27 AM

        Holy sh*t dude ok…you and countless other people win the “I CARE MORE THAN YOU” contest…still, I don’t believe any man, woman, or child should be given any preference, nor do I believe they should be discriminated against, in any way. I do NOT believe in putting a class, race, or sect of people on a pedastool as a way of making up for anything – that is just as prejudiced as acting out AGAINST them. I agree that they are human beings (and those comments are either some sort of pent up rage, or you saw an opportunity to take a stand on an imaginary pulpit and took it), I just care less about who they are attracted to and more about what they are doing on the ice, or on the courts, etc. AND DID YOU JUST BRING JESUS INTO THIS? You’re a freak! You know what we really need, here, is before we watch the playoffs tonight, we really need to know where each athlete stands on gun control and how they are registered to vote, also.

      • hockeywithdrawal - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:28 AM


      • orangandblack - Apr 30, 2013 at 10:12 AM

        Not to speak for withdrawal, I think his point is he wants to hear less about a players sexual orientation and more about their on ice productivity. Sort of like “oh you’re gay? I don’t give a sh**, just go play and stop talking about.’ Not caring does not make someone a bigot. Certainly nothing wrong with that opinion, if that’s what he meant….

      • ibieiniid - Apr 30, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        it’s easy to say you don’t care and everybody should shut up about it… but UNTIL gays get the same rights as the rest of us, there’s no reason for them to shut up. the more they can show that they’re fully assimilated into society, the more they actually will be.

        also, ‘coming out’ is ABOUT no longer being silent. if you didn’t go public with it, it’s not ‘coming out.’

  3. sjsharks66 - Apr 30, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Yay wingles!

  4. sjsharks66 - Apr 30, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Damn typo… *Wingels

    • ibieiniid - Apr 30, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      wingles: pringles served specifically on airlines.

  5. jakreidler - Apr 30, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    I’m with hockeywithdrawal. Who cares? Surely not I.

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