Hockey star Jon Lee-Olson comes out of the closet on live TV

Jon Lee-Olsen. Courtesy YouTube

Danish hockey star Jon Lee-Olsen made history this week when he became only the third male professional hockey player in history to come out as gay.

During an interview with Go’aften, a Danish news program, Lee-Olsen opened up about his private life, dropping the unexpected bombshell. “There’s a risk that some people might shout and heckle me while I’m playing matches,” he said. “It’s something I have to be ready for, and be mature about. But I feel that I’m ready to show that you can be gay and play ice hockey. It took longer than I expected, but now I’m ready to stand up for myself and others.”

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Lee-Olsen joins Lars Peter Karlsson of Sweden and Brendan Burke of Canada as one of three professional male players to ever come out of the closet. Washington Capitals player Lars Eller applauded the move, acknowledging the difficulty and importance of Lee-Olsen’s disclosure. “It’s special,” Eller said. “You might say that about any sport, but ice hockey has a very macho culture, so I think it must not have been an easy decision for him. It’s very brave.”

Professional sports, including the NHL, have done more in recent years to encourage players coming out and show support for queer fans.

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