EXPIRED: 02/05/10 -Brendan Burke, 21, was the openly gay son of Toronto Maple Leafs and U.S. Olympic hockey team general manager Brian Burke, and was himself the student manager of Ohio’s Miami University RedHawks hockey team.

Burke played hockey on the high school varsity team, but quit because he worried that his teammates would discover that he was gay. He was considering going to law school, unable to decide between a career in hockey management or politics. He interned on Capitol Hill last summer for U.S. Rep Bill Delahunt before taking the job as student manager and played hockey as a goalie at Miami University.

Although he came out to his family in 2007, his story was leaked to ESPN just this past November after he told his teammates at Miami University. The news sparked headlines, controversy and kudos. He took his story on the road hoping it would inspire others who were struggling with their sexuality not to shy away from playing in sports if that’s what they wanted to do.

While driving through a snowstorm in Indiana, Burke was killed in a traffic collision.

Family members hope Burke will be remembered not for his sexuality, but for his bravery and character.

A moment of silence was held before the Maple Leafs played Ottawa last night.



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