Andrew Shaw surprise name among NHL's LGBTQ ambassadors

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The NHL announced this week that “Hockey Is For Everyone” month, conducting in partnership with the You Can Play Project, will feature 30 “ambassadors” from each team who will be “a leader in the locker room and in the community on diversity, equality, and inclusion.”

There are players that “have agreed to lead the way in their markets and fight homophobia in sports; some will be featured in local public service announcements.”

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The NHL has announced which players from each team will be the ambassadors this month. Some of them were pretty expected: Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins and Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals have been vocal advocates for the LGBTQ community.

And one was very, very unexpected: Andrew Shaw of the Montreal Canadiens.

Shaw, you’ll recall, is less than a year removed from being suspended for a playoff game while with the Chicago Blackhawks for “making use of a homophobic slur.” He used it while sitting in the penalty box, and later claimed he didn’t know what he had said.

You Can Play reached out to the NHL after the incident went viral, saying they were “saddened and offended to see Andrew Shaw’s use of homophobic slurs during an NHL game” but that they looked “forward to continuing our partnership with the NHL, the Blackhawks and Mr. Shaw as we work to finally eradicate homophobia in hockey culture.”

Shaw said, in a statement last April, “I am sincerely sorry for the insensitive remarks that I made last night while in the penalty box. When I got home and saw the video, it was evident that what I did was wrong, no matter the circumstances. I apologize to many people, including the gay and lesbian community, the Chicago Blackhawks organization, Blackhawks fans and anyone else I may have offended. I know my words were hurtful and I will learn from my mistake.”

Apparently, part of his penance is advocating for the LGBTQ community as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.

Here’s the full list:

Anaheim Ducks — Ryan Kesler
Arizona Coyotes — Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Boston Bruins — Brad Marchand
Buffalo Sabres — Anders Nilsson
Carolina Hurricanes — Eddie Lack
Calgary Flames — Matt Stajan
Chicago Blackhawks — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Colorado Avalanche — Gabriel Landeskog
Columbus Blue Jackets — Scott Hartnell
Dallas Stars — Curtis McKenzie
Detroit Red Wings — Frans Nielsen
Edmonton Oilers — Matt Hendricks
Florida Panthers — Shawn Thornton
Los Angeles Kings — Dustin Brown
Minnesota Wild — Charlie Coyle
Montreal Canadiens — Andrew Shaw
Nashville Predators — Colin Wilson
New Jersey Devils — Andy Greene
New York Islanders — Casey Cizikas
New York Rangers — Mats Zuccarello
Ottawa Senators — Dion Phaneuf
Philadelphia Flyers — Claude Giroux
Pittsburgh Penguins — Chris Kunitz
San Jose Sharks — Chris Tierney
St. Louis Blues — David Perron
Tampa Bay Lightning — Brian Boyle
Toronto Maple Leafs — James van Riemsdyk
Vancouver Canucks — Henrik Sedin
Washington Capitals — Braden Holtby
Winnipeg Jets — Jacob Trouba

Again, kudos thus far for the NHL and You Can Play for pulling this group together and for the upcoming Pride Nights at different NHL arenas. Much like in life, there are a lot of competing views on social issues in the NHL, and these players are putting their names to their advocacy.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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