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.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while touching back down from the Windy City of Chicago.
*The Calgary Flames step away as one of the big winners in the NHL Draft weekend after securing defenseman Travis Hamonic on Day 2 of the festivities.
*Here’s a good piece on a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, and the lengths that hockey families will go to better their career chances.
*Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion sure sounds like a guy that’s working to try and deal Dion Phaneuf away from the Sens, doesn’t he?
*Cool story about the second round pick of the Los Angeles Kings, and a family background that is just going to become more and more commonplace as time goes by. Congrats to the family on what must have been a great weekend in Chicago.
*The Flyers are loading up on draft picks and trading some veterans, but don’t dare call it a rebuild in Philadelphia.
*Speaking of picks from Saturday’s second day of the draft, the Blue Jackets actually drafted a kid from the same hometown in the French Alps, Grenoble, as Andre the Giant. That is pretty damn noteworthy.
*For something completely different: I’d always wondered about the backstory with the father in the Toy Story movies, and this is certainly a major bummer of a background story.
CHICAGO – The Bruins finished up their 2017 NHL Draft class with a bit of a project, but a 6-foot-5 defenseman with some great skating wheels is a pretty good way to go with a seventh round pick. The B’s nabbed Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Daniel Bukac with the 204th pick in the draft, and admitted afterward that he’s an ultra-big bodied player that could take some time in the development process.
Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley said Boston is more than happy to be patient with Bukac given the tools that he’s working with as an 18-year-old prospect. Bukac had two goals and 17 points to go along with 38 penalty minutes in his first season in North America after coming over from the Czech Republic, and Bradley said that B’s scouts noted that he continued to improve and get comfortable as the season wore on.
"He's raw. He's a project. [He’s a] kid from the Czech Republic that played in the Western Hockey League,” said Bradley. “At the start of the year - he's come leaps and bounds with his development. Talking to the people - the coaches, the management, and the GM in Brandon, they're very excited about him coming back to Brandon. They're expecting big things from him. We look forward to seeing him in camp."
Bukac is starting to garner some good international experience after playing for the Czechs in the Under-18’s and the Ivan Hinkla Tournament, but this weekend it was all about his addition to the talented group of Bruins prospects in the hockey world.
"I'm so excited to be drafted by the Boston Bruins," said Bukac, who described himself as a solid two-way defenseman with a good first pass. "It's an awesome feeling. I'm so glad that I was drafted by Boston."