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Thread: Help me find out who this gay NHL player is

  1. #1
    Asher
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    Help me find out who this gay NHL player is

    So apparently there's a bunch of gay hockey players (go figure), but there's an article that had a closeted current (as of 2005) NHL player interviewed by Eric Anderson for the SUNY Press.

    The relevant article is here: http://outsports.com/entertainment/2...ookexcerpt.htm
    I've decided to quote it incase you didn't want to visit that site and have it logged in your history:
    An NHL Player Talks About Being Gay in Hockey

    ike many young Canadians, Aaron, who now plays for the National Hockey League (NHL), grew up in a culture obsessed with ice hockey.

    “I don’t know a lot about hockey,” I confessed at the beginning of the interview.

    “You are American,” he laughed, “and you’re from California. But if you’re from Canada you just can’t escape it,” he tells me during our telephone interview from the lobby of a hotel.

    “I grew up in a town which was all about hockey, and my dad played hockey professionally, so I really don’t remember a time when I couldn’t skate.”

    Aaron’s early socialization (and natural talent) enabled him to excel at hockey as a youth. Hockey was Aaron’s first love; boys became his second.

    While most of the athletes I interviewed knew that they were gay before puberty, Aaron was different. He didn’t figure out that he was gay until his early teens. It bothered him not because he liked guys but because he felt so alone in liking guys. “I couldn’t go online to talk about it; there was no Internet back then, so . . . I told my priest. He encouraged me not to act on it, and to keep it silent. So I did.”

    In college the fear of exploring his sexuality began to erode, so while on a full scholarship to an American university, and with his first fake ID in hand, he was determined to find out where the gay district was. “I was successful. I found not one but two guys to go home with that night.”

    He visited the gay district more frequently over the next few years, but because this time frame coincided with his ascendancy as a hockey player, he increasingly grew afraid of being recognized in gay clubs. His worry remained as he navigated the hierarchy of clubs and leagues before eventually skating for an NHL team. He has skated here for several years, even winning a Stanley Cup title.

    As a hockey player, Aaron represents a paradox in relation to orthodox masculinity. He has survived the serious bodily risk that comes with this violent sport, but he fears another kind of damage—the loss of respect if he were to come out. “If people found out I was gay, it would ruin everything,” he tells me. He was initially leery to give me this interview and revealed only parts of his identity to me at a time in order to build trust. He has more practical fears too. He fears coming out would cause him to lose ice time or to become “the bastard of the company unit.”

    “I’m not afraid of being selected out for punishment, my team would beat ass if anyone tried to mess with me, but I just don’t think it would help my playing.” He continued, I really love what I do. I’m like a racehorse on the track, eager to run. I want to skate. I want to play; it hurts me not to. I’m one of the luckiest guys, to be able to do what I want and get paid way too much for it, and I’m afraid that coming out would spoil that. I just wish people didn’t care so much.”

    Aaron struggles to lead some semblance of a normal romantic and social life away from the prying eyes of his teammates. He has a boyfriend of several years, gay friends, and he permits himself to visit gay clubs when he is on the road—which is often. On rare occasions, he even runs into other professional hockey players when visiting gay establishments.

    “You know, hockey players have this sort of look to them. It just screams, ‘I’m a hockey player’, so when I go to the bars, I dress like a professional and tell people I work with computers.” Still, on the few occasions when another professional hockey player enters the bar, he grows distressed. “It’s like, holy ****. You can spot them from a mile away, and its just like, oh my god, what am I going to do?”

    Most of the time the other player is equally willing to avoid discussing the situation. “A few times the guy has just said like, ‘Aaron Barnes, huh?’ Then I’ll say, ‘We will talk about this later.’ But I never do.”

    He informs me that he has seen about a dozen players in gay bars over the years. “One time, I ran into another player from my own team.”

    Despite being “absolutely terrified,” he played the encounter off without candor. “What are you doing here?” his teammate asked. “Just checking the place out,” he responded. “Me too,” his teammate quipped. They have yet to talk about their encounter.

    Managing a closeted gay identity is tricky for Aaron. Hockey necessitates that most all of his free time be spent with the team.

    “Even if you think that someone might be cool with it, you don’t necessarily want to tell them because you might be shipped to another team, and you don’t want them to have something to use against you.”

    In order to pass as heterosexual, Aaron’s public acts are in strict accord with masculine ideals. He conforms to the norms of masculinity exhibited in the sport, including having sex with women, because he is afraid of being perceived out of step with the masculine expectations of the sport. While he often feels he would like to disclose his sexuality to his teammates, he fears losing the competitive edge in acquiring ice time.

    When I inquired as to the degree of homophobia in the NHL, Aaron informed me, “You know there was a lot of it in the lower ranks, especially in high school and college. But in the NHL we are professionals, and guys really aren’t all that homophobic.”

    He recounted a story about taking a long bus trip with his team after the Massachusetts State Supreme Court came out with their ruling that the state could not stop same-sex marriage in late 2003:

    “We were on the bus not too long ago, and someone was talking about the Massachusetts marriage thing, and there were a few older guys that were closed-minded, and saying it was wrong. They were comparing it to marrying goats. I got pissed and said, ‘I really don’t think marrying goats was the next logical step. You know, think about it,’ I said.”

    I asked him if others took his position. “A few players stood up and told them to settle down. Most were trying to sleep, and these guys were just annoying them.”

    Aaron also reports that the use of homophobic language is surprisingly low. “I don’t really hear fag in the locker room. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I heard it at all. A lot of us just won’t stand for that kind of stuff.”

    The secret he withholds from his teammates is a weighty matter. In our telephone interview (conducted from his cell phone in his hotel room) he stops several times or unrepentantly changes the subject in order to cast off suspicion as to the nature of his long conversation from his teammates who barge in and out.

    While Aaron truly loves the game he plays, like most of the closeted collegiate and professional athletes in my study, he finds the notion of team, and the time it takes to do all that is required of being part of a team, constraining.

    “You just can’t escape the guys,” he tells me. “I mean, they will just walk into your hotel room, and they always want to go out drinking with you,” so it’s hard to have much privacy. “One time I had my boyfriend visiting me in the hotel room, and the coach knocked on my door and wanted to talk. So my boyfriend went and hid in the bathroom while the coach talked to me for an hour and a half.”

    Where heterosexual athletes can incorporate their girlfriends or wives into certain team functions, Aaron has none of those freedoms. He sneaks guys into his hotel room when on the road (he is in an open relationship), and he cannot talk to his boyfriend at will. Although he has taken a few more risks as he has gotten older (he is an established and well-known player), including telling three of his teammates, he feels constrained from coming out any further.

    “I think about coming out to my team all the time. I think, ‘Maybe today will be the day,’ then it’s not. I’d really like to. On the other hand I’m so used to being the way I am.”
    In the article, they give him a fictitious name (Aaron Barnes), but he reveals some information that makes finding out just who it is an interesting exercise:
    • He is Canadian
    • He has won a Stanley Cup
    • His father played professional hockey (not necessarily the NHL)
    • He had a full-ride scholarship to an American university (played NCAA Division I hockey)
    • There was "no internet" when he was a teenager (I presume this means he was a teenager in the 1990s or earlier)
    • He is obviously not married and has no kids


    So, who could it be?
    "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
    Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

  2. #2
    Asher
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    My first guess was John Madden:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ma...8ice_hockey%29

    Only missing piece here is I don't think his father played hockey (he grew up in public housing in Toronto, his father isn't mentioned anywhere)

    This is wikipedia's list of players whose parents played in the NHL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...arent-children
    "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
    Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

  3. #3
    Oncle Boris
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    Other (more far-fetched) observations

    1) "my team would beat ass"

    This does not sound like "pure" English to me, but I could be wrong. Could the guy be Québécois?

    2) "Most were trying to sleep"

    If they were trying to sleep, they were probably in a bus ride between two cities and not to the airport. This does exclude some teams by geographical location.
    "The boastful seeks the company of parasites." (Spinoza)

  4. #4
    Asher
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    Yeah, the long bus ride with sleep seems to suggest an eastern conference team because they frequently use busses (Western Conference teams are so far apart, they almost always fly). So does the fact that this is a SUNY article (State University of New York). I strongly suspect this player played for a New York area team (or at least North Eastern US) in 2004-2005.

    That's another reason I thought of John Madden. He played for New Jersey this whole decade except for this season.
    "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
    Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

  5. #5
    Solomwi
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    Don't overlook the "told my priest" part. On the internet thing, I had the same thought. He's probably around my age (34) or older.
    Solomwi is very wise. - Imran Siddiqui

  6. #6
    Asher
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    Good catch...he's a Catholic guy. Religion is hard to find on most NHL players though.
    "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
    Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

  7. #7
    Asher
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    He has skated here for several years, even winning a Stanley Cup title.

    This line also points to someone who played for the same club, potentially one that one a cup within "several years" of the interview date (presumably sometime in 2004, or maybe 2003...the book was published 2005).

    New Jersey won the Stanley Cup in 2002 last. Another reason I keep going back to John Madden.

    The age fits, too: he's 36 now.

    The article also talks about the "ascendancy" of him being a hockey player in college. This is also a big pointer to John Madden, just because he was not drafted...he was a decent hockey player but he really came into his own in college and became a pretty big name by the end of his college career, and got signed to an NHL club.



    The only thing about Madden that doesn't fit is the part about the dad playing pro hockey. But maybe the dad did play pro hockey (AHL or something), and no one's ever really mentioned it?
    "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
    Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

  8. #8
    Wiglaf
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    Definitely John Madden




  9. #9
    Asher
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    It's a different John Madden, but I do love those videos.
    "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
    Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

  10. #10
    Wiglaf
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    I see. I am sorry I could not be of more assistance in this matter.

  11. #11
    Asher
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    Maybe if you would go to the various gay bars in the Chicago area and verify if John Madden goes there?

    Thanks Wiggy.
    "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
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    notyoueither
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asher View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    He has skated here for several years, even winning a Stanley Cup title.

    This line also points to someone who played for the same club, potentially one that one a cup within "several years" of the interview date (presumably sometime in 2004, or maybe 2003...the book was published 2005).

    New Jersey won the Stanley Cup in 2002 last. Another reason I keep going back to John Madden.

    The age fits, too: he's 36 now.

    The article also talks about the "ascendancy" of him being a hockey player in college. This is also a big pointer to John Madden, just because he was not drafted...he was a decent hockey player but he really came into his own in college and became a pretty big name by the end of his college career, and got signed to an NHL club.



    The only thing about Madden that doesn't fit is the part about the dad playing pro hockey. But maybe the dad did play pro hockey (AHL or something), and no one's ever really mentioned it?

    Where is 'here?'

    Could be blowing smoke? Was the cup won 'here?'
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    MikeH
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    No outing!
    Jon Miller: MikeH speaks the truth
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    We've got both kinds

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    This is hearsay and innuendo; not outing.
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  15. #15
    Asher
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    Quote Originally Posted by notyoueither View Post
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    Where is 'here?'

    Could be blowing smoke? Was the cup won 'here?'
    The sentence strongly implies that. There's no location given.
    "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
    Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

  16. #16
    Wezil
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    It's all a ruse. Everyone knows there are no gay NHL players.
    "I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow
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  17. #17
    Guynemer
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    It is only a matter of time before a current, team-sport athlete comes out. Asher appears to be on the scent with Madden; sadly, my time at U-M did not overlap with his, so I have no insight to offer.
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  18. #18
    Tuberski
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    You know, if BK reads this thread, it will reinforce all of his stereotypes about gay men. Except for being in the closet this guy is exactly how he thinks all gay men act.

    ACK!
    Don't try to confuse the issue with half-truths and gorilla dust!

  19. #19
    Asher
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuberski View Post
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    You know, if BK reads this thread, it will reinforce all of his stereotypes about gay men. Except for being in the closet this guy is exactly how he thinks all gay men act.

    ACK!
    Many gay men act like that because the choices are limited when you live in a closet.

    If society rejects them, it's hard to live what most would consider a "normal life".
    "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
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  20. #20
    -Jrabbit
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    There's a lot at stake with a pro sports career. Obviously one of the worst situations to be keeping a lifestyle secret.

    It's hard to believe he hasn't been outed, seeing as he goes to gay clubs and everyone there is basically a couple clicks away from a FB post or tweet. Heck, just doing the interview (not to mention, confiding to teammates) makes it pretty clear he either expects or wants to be out.

    My guess is that it's an open secret in some quarters, with the gay clubgoers in the know closing ranks to protect him.

    Asher, if it's not Madden, you're doing him a disservice. You definitely need to go undercover on this and ferret out the truth. Because the truth is "out" there.
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  21. #21
    Asher
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    I think his chances of being discovered at an American gay bar are pretty low.

    Hell, most Canadians wouldn't even know what John Madden looks like off-hand.
    "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
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  22. #22
    zz0101
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    Most likely, it's John Grahame.

  23. #23
    Asher
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    Why do you say that?

  24. #24
    Aeson
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    “I don’t know a lot about hockey,” I confessed at the beginning of the interview.

    “You are American,” he laughed, “and you’re from California. But if you’re from Canada you just can’t escape it,” he tells me during our telephone interview from the lobby of a hotel.
    American from California, and gay person from Canada [redundant]that plays hockey[/redundant].... pretty clear that this is Asher's thread about himself and Oerdin having a poly "meet"... (In a telephone booth in the hotel lobby )
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  25. #25
    MrFun
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    This thread does not conform to the stereotype that there are no gay athletes.
    A lot of Republicans are not racist, but a lot of racists are Republican.

  26. #26
    bugger
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    http://www.legendsofhockey.net/Legen...p?player=15197
    "(he is an established and well-known player)"

    John Madden's father did play some form of hockey.
    http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=501137


    He is married with two children, but that does not necessarily mean anything.

    "In order to pass as heterosexual, Aaron’s public acts are in strict accord with masculine ideals. He conforms to the norms of masculinity exhibited in the sport, including having sex with women, because he is afraid of being perceived out of step with the masculine expectations of the sport. While he often feels he would like to disclose his sexuality to his teammates, he fears losing the competitive edge in acquiring ice time."


    “I grew up in a town which was all about hockey..."

    There have been 10 retired NHL players, 1 former NHL player and NHL general manager, 3 current NHL players (including John), and 1 former NHL referee, all from Barrie, Ontario. There is also the Barrie Colts, OHL team.

  27. #27
    Asher
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  28. #28
    Imran Siddiqui
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    As John Madden's wiki page says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Madden_(ice_hockey)

    Madden is noted for his on-ice ability to kill penalties, play both ways, and score shorthanded goals.


    “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
    - John 13:34-35 (NRSV)

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    Asher
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  30. #30
    Supr49er
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    I thought the Chicago Tribune already figured it out

    And indeed there will be time To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?". t s eliot

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