Many dont think of NHL enforcers as the most welcoming and accepting sorts within the world of professional hockey, but time and again those roughly-hewn hockey fighters defy convention.
They are some of the brightest and most personable people youll find in a hockey dressing room, and Shawn Thornton is a perfect example of the NHL brawling brethren in both words and actions. The Bs enforcer has turned himself into a leader, a champion and a player that can be trusted on the ice; off the ice hes become the conscience of the Boston locker room in many ways.
So it would be important for any teammate to gain Thorntons acceptance, and the hockey fighter had some enlightening and encouraging comments when he was recently asked some hypothetical questions involving gay teammates. The Bs enforcer granted a one-on-one interview with Boston Spirit, and said hed welcome a gay teammate within his dressing room.
There isnt a single out professional athlete currently playing in any of the four major sports, and its one of the last major walls to be broken through as society has become much more accepting of alternative lifestyles. Thornton admitted he wasnt exposed to many examples of homosexuality growing up in a blue collar town outside of Toronto, but that wouldnt stop him from accepting gay players on his own team with open arms.
Honestly, my teammates are like family so there would be support. I would personally support him and Im pretty sure everyone in our locker room would, said Thornton during the interview. Weve got a pretty good bunch of guys. I dont think there would be any issues.
Thorntons teammate Zdeno Chara also opened the doors with a welcoming attitude when he took part in Patrick Burkes You Can Play campaign preaching acceptance of gay and lesbian athletes within the world of sports. Chara filmed a commercial during the NHL All-Star break in Ottawa that aired throughout the second half of the hockey season, and marked the Bruins as a team full of players with open minds and accepting hearts.
Were family in here. Were around each other more than our own families so you create a certain bond and everyone supports each other in whatever they are doing. Thats definitely the case in this locker room, said Thornton. I have known all of these guys for a long time. All that we went through last year the Bruins won the Stanley Cup as league champions and being around each other until mid-June, I know this room would be unbelievable.
The Bruins have proven that with their words and their actions as the world of sports is slowly catching up to the rest of society.