When I started writing Hat Trick in November 2006, You Can Play didn’t exist yet. However, from the very first draft of the story, Simon and Alex had a coach that was not homophobic. From the first time Coach Archer found out that Simon and Alex were seeing each other, he made it clear their position on the team was secure as long as they continued to play at the level he expected. Beyond that, he was supportive of them as a couple and offered a safe haven if either of them needed to talk about anything.
You Can Play made its debut in March 2012 with a video that aired during a Rangers/Bruins game (broadcast on NBC) in which several NHL stars proclaimed “If you can play… you can play.” It didn’t matter what your sexual orientation was, if you wanted to play the game and could play the game, you’d be welcomed onto the ice and into the locker room.
You Can Play has a simple, yet powerful, mission statement: “You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success. You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.”
In the epilogue to Hat Trick, Simon gives one last interview to a reporter from the school paper to close out the school year. In that interview he mentions that, over the summer, the seniors will hold a fund raiser for You Can Play. In that spirit, and because I believe wholeheartedly in You Can Play’s mission, I’m giving $1 from each copy of Hat Trick sold to You Can Play. You can help support You Can Play by purchasing Hat Trick today.