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Turning Purple

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

Thursday, 10.18.2012 / 10:36 AM / 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 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

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2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 62 19 45 4 64
C. Giroux 61 18 41 2 59
W. Simmonds 62 24 18 -2 42
M. Streit 62 8 32 -4 40
B. Schenn 62 12 23 -3 35
S. Couturier 62 12 14 -2 26
M. Del Zotto 50 7 17 -7 24
M. Read 62 5 18 -9 23
M. Raffl 47 13 3 4 16
V. Lecavalier 44 7 9 -9 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 11 13 7 .925 2.26
R. Emery 10 10 4 .893 3.15
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