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Sean Leahy

Brian Burke's advocacy work keeps son's memory alive

Sean Leahy
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Brian Burke isn't one to be quiet. The outspoken general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs isn't afraid to offer his opinion or get behind something he believes in.

It comes as no surprise then that a little over three months after his son Brendan was killed in a car accident, Burke is keeping his son's voice alive through the support of a new Canadian initiative that aims to make schools safe for everyone, no matter their sexual identity.

Delivering a speech to promote the launch of MyGSA.ca, a website that will provide information for students and teachers, Burke made clear his intentions:

“I hate bullies,” he said. “We have to get to the point where everyone can go to school free of fear.” [...]

“This is something my son would have supported,” Mr. Burke said. “I think I owe him that.”

Using his name, Burke is doing something many might not feel comfortable with, but knowing that only good will come out of his support for MyGSA.ca, he is helping to promote a message that Brendan may have ended up doing himself after he came out publicly last year.

As the Globe & Mail reported, during his speech, Burke couldn't bring himself to speak about his son without welling up and had to cut it short, prompting the audience to give him a standing ovation.

Burke's next advocacy job will be to participate in this summer's Toronto Pride Parade, telling Sports Illustrated in March, "I'd promised him I would march with him. He won't be there, but I will."

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