PAC-8 allies with You Can Play


The PAC-8 partnered with You Can Play in their fight against homophobia.

Today, the Intercollegiate PAC 8 Hockey Conference announced its unequivocal support for the You Can Play Project(, a campaign to ensure equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.

The PAC-8 and all member teams are united in standing up against discrimination and homophobia in the sport of hockey.

"You Can Play is thrilled to have the support of the PAC-8 Conference,” stated Patrick Burke, co-founder of theYou Can Play Project and a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers. “Their athletes and administrators are showing tremendous leadership in addressing this issue head on. We are excited that LGBT athletes have a safe home in the PAC-8." 

“It’s unfortunate that this sort of declaration is still necessary,” said Johnny Nguyen, Executive Director for the PAC-8, “but the teams of the PAC-8, and the conference itself, have pledged their commitment to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all athletes in the locker room, in the stands, and on the ice.”

“We hope that by taking this unified stance as a conference, we send a powerful and clear message to the hockey world and beyond that homophobia at any level is simply unacceptable.”

The You Can Play Project was started in memory of Brendan Burke, a college hockey player who publicly announced that he was gay in November 2009, and became an advocate for tolerance in sports, especially in hockey. He was tragically killed in an auto accident a few months later, and his family has promised their unwavering support in continuing the fight for equality in sports. Brendan's older brother Patrick, along with their father Brian Burke, President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, founded You Can Play to continue Brendan’s legacy.

“Homophobia is built into the very culture of hockey itself,” said Thomas Waschenfelder, Captain of the University of Southern California hockey team. “Players rarely recognize this insidious undercurrent, and take it to be constituent of the way the hockey world operates. We can no longer let our LGBT players suffer quietly as we insult and dehumanize them merely because ‘it’s part of the game.’”

As part of the You Can Play Project, the PAC-8 will be producing a video that will feature representatives from all 9 teams together on the ice. Filming and production will take place in Los Angeles, and the league is currently seeking financial underwriting for the video. Those interested in contributing should contact Johnny Nguyen at
About the PAC-8
The Intercollegiate PAC 8 Hockey Conference is a non-profit association founded in 1995 to organize college affiliated programs and provide structure, regulate operations, and promote quality and sportsmanship in collegiate ice hockey and among its teams.  Members include Arizona State University, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Oregon, Stanford University, University of Southern California, University of Utah, University of Washington, and Washington State University.