A brave young man lost.
Brendan Burke, the young student manager of the hockey team at Miami University (in Oxford, Ohio), was killed in a car accident Friday afternoon.
He was a member of an esteemed hockey family, the youngest son of Brian Burke, currently General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The loss of any 21-year-old is tragic. But Brendan - for such a young man - leaves a legacy that, within the hockey world, belies his short life.
The whole story - his revelation and its fallout - is nicely chronicled here. (Annoyingly, in the second person, but still.)
I followed the story as it played out in the hockey news. In the hockey world, it was a bombshell. I was so proud of Brendan, and especially his dad, who was very public in his support for Brendan (he said he stood by Brendan "with an axe!"). And of his employers, and of the team he managed. I was even proud of the website commenters and hockey fans who said, "Yeah, so the kid is gay. So what?"
Rooting homophobia out of sports is going to be done like this, one brave kid at a time.
Poor Brendan. I wish he'd lived to fulfill his promise. But I'm so glad he was brave enough to make a difference.