By Kim Bokamper

SUNRISE (CBSMiami) — The Florida Panthers may be struggling on the ice, but when it comes to bringing fans to the BB&T Center, the Cats organization thinks out of the box becoming one of the first teams to incorporate a new “You Can Play” program that was introduced by the NHL.

Saturday night, the Panthers will put the initiative to the test by hosting the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community for the group’s first “You Can Play” equality night.

“I think it’s very important, it’s natural. Our society is so diverse now and the sporting world, including hockey, we have like everybody, accepted everybody from all different backgrounds,” said Randy Moeller, a Panthers broadcaster.

Panther defenseman Brian Campbell has already taken part in the “You Can Play” program by being featured in a video promoting the position of inclusion throughout the league.

“You know it was something that I believe in, that everyone should believe in. Pretty much sums it up with what is says: No matter who you are, what you are, and what you believe in, if you’re good to go and play, they you should be out there playing,” said Campbell.

“Kids today and adults need to feel comfortable playing all types of sports.  It doesn’t matter what your background is, it’s all about diversity, and that’s where I think the Panthers have always been that way,” added Moeller.

The project was founded by NHL Director of Player Safety Patrick Burke whose older brother Brendon came out three months before losing his life in an automobile accident. Now, his work in the LGBT community is impacting hockey in a meaningful way.

“If it’s going to make our team a better team or the league or anything, I think it’s a great program and give a lot of credit to the people who all started it  up,” added Campbell.


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