Today the world will wake up to the news that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane got married last week in Buffalo, New York.
But why should anyone care?
Let me break this down for you: This is a gay couple. Who are out. While they are still major stars in the NHL. They won their team a Stanley Cup. These aren’t some retired hockey has-beens. These two guys have been and still are the two biggest names of their organisation at the moment.
This isn't just important: it's groundbreaking.
No doubt you’re already aware that I stand in support of any player in any of the four major sports that choose to come out, as do many others. It’s the NHL who will be facing a big challenge with how they treat Jonathan, Patrick and their relationship, however. If they fail, which they have been known to do, they run the risk of alienating any other LGBT players that may have spoken up. If they're successful, this could be a great step forward for all North American sports. There will be the inevitable detractors, people who can't help but feel it's their place to dictate to Jonathan and Patrick how they should live their life together. They would be wrong. I would like these people to know that I, personally, am immensely proud of the steps Jonathan and Patrick are taking, of having the courage to come out in this way, not just as a relationship, but as a marriage, a team.
That said, I'm not going to sugarcoat this for them. There are going to be times ahead when they’ll wonder what the hell they’re doing this for, when they’ll wonder why people don’t shut the hell up and let them get on with playing hockey. There's tough times ahead and if they're not strong enough, they'll bend under the unbearable pressure the opposition to their marriage will bring to bear.
If they have it in them to fight, to stand for this, they can provide a good example for other players not only in the NHL, but the NFL, NBA and the MLB.
If the NHL handle this with the dignity that we all know they should, other sports organisations would do well to follow their lead.