You follow him on the twitters as @gaypuckbunny, now meet him here. He’s got a great story about his connection to the game. Living in the Great Lakes region, he coaches teams from mites to high school, and works for an ice rink as a zamboni driver and equipment manager. Despite the miles, GPB is a Canucks fan, and the pics featured were pulled from his Tumblr.
I am a hockey player, I am a hockey fan, I am a hockey coach. I drive a Zamboni, sharpen skates, and repair equipment. Everyone knows these things about me. What most people do not know about me, is that I’m gay.
Yes, I am still, for the most part, in the closet when it comes to my personal hockey community. I know I shouldn’t be. The truth is, in my position, coming out at the wrong time, under the wrong circumstances, could destroy my career.
Despite the major strides taken to combat homophobia in hockey, it is still very prevalent. I fear my coaching staff, team, and clients will lose respect for me if I do not exercise extreme caution when coming out.
What I can say with confidence, though, is that You Can Play, with the help of many other dedicated organizations and individuals, will create an environment in hockey that will allow me to feel comfortable enough to come out fully.
Growing up, my family all thought I would play soccer, basketball, or football. My uncle played professional soccer, my dad was a high school basketball and football star in Indiana. I played soccer as soon as I could run, basketball followed soon after. I hated football (and still do), so I never played.
I got into hockey because of my cousin. He is 4 years older than me, and I always wanted to be just like him. He played roller hockey, but I wanted to be on the ice. I already knew how to skate, and played in the street all the time, but I begged my parents to sign me up for ice hockey at our local rink.
After two years on the waiting list, I finally got my shot to play! The program wanted everyone to play all the positions, so I started at center, played wing, and held the blue line pretty well, but my absolute passion was to play between the pipes. As soon as the program director asked who wanted to be a goalie, I stood up and yelled “ME!”
I assumed there would be a rush of kids trying to be goalie, so I wanted to make a memorable impact. Turns out, I was the only one who wanted to play goal, so I just looked silly. But I didn’t care, I was going to be a goaltender!
That was when i was 8 years old. Since that day, when I got my first set of goalie gear, I have not stepped out of the blue paint to play forward or defense (except once for a men’s league scrimmage). I love being a goalie. The gear, the filthy saves, making the other team scream at me for robbing them blind on a breakaway. I live for it.
I played youth hockey, then high school, and spent two years on an ACHA D1 College Club team. Needless to say, I’ve seen some pretty good hockey.
As I said, I played high school hockey. That was a rough time for me emotionally and mentally. At 16, I finally accepted that I am gay. Being in a locker room full of macho, homophobic high school hockey players was not the easiest thing to do, but I got through it.
I set school records in wins, shutouts, GAA and SV%, as well as earned team MVP and player’s MVP my junior year. Not to toot my own horn, but I was freaking awesome at stopping pucks!
I still play when I can (adult league, pickup, etc.), but I made my transition to coaching. I now coach goalies. I love it. I get to keep up with my position, and talk to other goalies about new gear and new techniques. Seriously, I’ve never met a goalie who doesn’t love to talk about gear. It’s addicting.
So I played hockey and I coach it, which obviously makes me a fan. More than a fan, I am a shameless puck bunny. Like I said, being in that high school locker room was extremely difficult, in more ways than one. To quote the fantastic new movie Goon, “I dig hockey players. The sh*t, the violence, the beer. I f*cking love it.” If a guy plays hockey, he is instantly more attractive. It’s just the way my rules of attraction work, and I love it.
Being a gay puck bunny, I encounter some hate and ignorance from hockey players, but…there are quite a few of them who message me asking for, let’s call them “discreet experiences.” Oh, those boys. The best part of being a gay puck bunny is the community of girls that has welcomed me with open arms. They have become sisters to me, and I love them with all my heart!
Now time for the awkward transition because I’m not witty enough to come up with another one.
Any good fan has a favorite team, right? Well mine always has been, and always will be the Vancouver Canucks. I was 6 years old when the Rangers beat the Canucks in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. It may have been my age, but I cried my eyes out. Confession time: I bawled like a little baby for a week straight after the Bruins won the cup. I lived through horrible seasons with terrible goalies. I survived the Todd Bertuzzi era only to see my all-time favorite goalie wear the orca on his chest. Yes, that does mean that Roberto Luongo is my favorite goalie, even if Cory Schneider is my boyfriend. 😉 Vancouver is finally winning on a consistent basis, something I was not used to prior to the lockout.
My parents should have known then that I’m gay. I mean, I chose my favorite team because I thought they had pretty uniforms. Hellooooo!?
Other than hockey, you can find me tweeting about and being slightly obsessed with fashion, shoes, and being fabulous. Fair warning, though, I’m stereotypical, sometimes a little overboard about it, but I’m proud of it.