17-Year-Old Canadian Hockey Player Comes Out and Finds Support

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday September 14, 2020

17-year-old Canadian hockey player Yanic Duplessis recently shared his experience of coming out in an interview with Craig Eagles on the podcast "Out in the Open."

As Outsports contends, "his story is familiar to any young person dealing with their sexuality, with the added pressure of being a talented hockey player drafted by two junior leagues, stepping stones to playing higher-level hockey, including the NHL." The hockey player was drafted by Drummondville Voltgeurs in 2019, known for producing NHL-level players.

Duplessis explains his fears of coming out earlier, experiencing the locker room as a closeted young man:

"I'm not saying hockey players aren't nice, because they are, but in the dressing room between the boys, and I certainly don't want to offend anyone, but in the room people say some things to be cool or whatever.

"They would say things about being gay or something and laugh at it. I would do the same thing, because I wanted to blend in."

After being outed by a friend he confided in, Duplessis was surprised to find support from former teammates and friends:

"One teammate actually came over to my house to check on me. It was the first day he found out. He came over to make sure that I knew that he accepted me and supported me. We talked a lot and he started crying because he knew I was going through a very tough time and that I was doing it alone. ...I will never forget that."

Turns out, Duplessis' anxiety of being outed when he wasn't ready, and fear of being rejected by his parents and his teammates were, fortunately, unfounded. However, he does have advice for future teammates, people who are "like brothers to me": Be cautious of homophobic locker room talk. "It's not just about being gay, it could be about anything that could trigger something."

Read the feature at Outsports and hear the podcast at FDS Podcast Network.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.