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Turning Purple

Flyers' Burke continues to raise awareness in brother's memory

Thursday, 10.18.2012 / 10:36 AM ET / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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Turning Purple

For one day the NHL and the Flyers are going purple.

No, we’re not holding our breath beyond normal capacity. No, we’re not taking the role of Violet Beauregarde in another remake of the Willy Wonka movie – even if her name does sound vaguely like a hockey player.

Nay, nay – we’re going purple in support of an important initiative of which one of our scouts has been an ambassador.

Flyers scout Patrick Burke, who founded the You Can Play Project – an advocacy group supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual athletes – has partnered with GLAAD (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and in turn acted as the liason with the NHL in support of Spirit Day, which is today.

Spirit Day is an annual day in October when millions of Americans wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

“It was started by a young girl from Vancouver,” Burke said. “On the gay flag, there is a rainbow and each color stands for something. Purple stands for ‘Spirit.’ A couple years ago there was a rash of suicides by gay teenagers, so she came up with the idea of wearing purple for a day as a sign of support. Now it’s grown into a big, international event, which is great.”

Burke became involved, first with his project and now with Spirit Day in memory of his brother Brendan, who was an athlete and student manager at Miami University in Ohio for the school’s men’s ice hockey team.

In November, 2009, Brendan made international headlines by publicly stating he was gay and acting as an advocate for tolerance and speaking out against homophobia in professional sports.

Brendan Burke died tragically in an auto accident three months later, but his family – most notably his brother Patrick and his father, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke – have spearheaded efforts to keep his activist message relevant.

“We’ve done a decent amount of work with GLAAD in the past – just to make sure we’re all on the same page,” Patrick Burke said. “This is such an easy way to show support and when GLAAD presented it to us it made perfect sense. So, to ask fans, teams and the league to wear purple or put purple on their websites or social media platforms to show support, we thought it was a great idea and it was something that we wanted to get behind.”

Burke, who scouts for the Flyers in the New England area, both at the collegiate and professional levels, communicated with the NHL on their efforts to show support and continue to raise awareness for tolerance, acceptance and understanding in the ranks of professional sports, specifically the sport of hockey.

“If a group reaches out to the league with an idea and the league isn’t sure how or if to proceed, they come to us,” he said. “At this point we’re kind of the experts on the issue in the hockey community.”

Several celebrities are also working closely with GLAAD with this event including NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, talk show host Wendy Williams and Diana Agron of the popular television show “Glee.”

On a personal level, Burke plans on showing his support in person at a game he’ll be scouting tonight.

“I’ll be in the press box in a nice, purple dress shirt showing my support,” he said.

For more information on how to participate in spirit day, visit http://glaad.org/spiritday.
To support the You Can Play Project, follow them on twitter along with Patrick Burke.










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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

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2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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