Brock McGillis: Breaking the Ice on LGBTQ+ Visibility in Hockey

Brock McGillis: Breaking the Ice on LGBTQ+ Visibility in Hockey

Imagine a sports team as different types of instruments in an orchestra. Each instrument has its unique sound, and when played alone, it can create music that’s rich with its individual character. Now imagine when these instruments try to play together without understanding or appreciating the others’ sounds—it’s a cacophony. What should be a harmonious symphony becomes a mess of clashing notes.

Brock McGillis’s story is like that of a violin, whose music was for a long time forced to mimic the relentless beats of percussion because that’s what was expected in the orchestra of hockey. But the beauty of the violin’s melody was lost in this forced conformity. When the violin finally played its true tune, other instruments were initially unsure how to react—some were supportive, finding that the symphony as a whole could be more diverse, while some were resistant, preferring the orchestra to stick to the old, uniform rhythm.

The key to creating a harmonious symphony lies in letting each instrument be true to its sound while coordinating with others. It’s not just about accepting the violin but about appreciating how its melody complements others and enhances the overall performance. The younger generation of instruments is coming along, already playing in harmony with a wider range of sounds, but it’s the older instruments who often struggle to adjust their pitch and learn the new music.

Brock McGillisThis orchestra without bias or restriction is what Brock McGillis envisions for the world of hockey—and beyond—a place where every player, every individual, can express their authentic selves. Like a masterful conductor, he is guiding the conversation to transform a rigid, monotonous tune into a rich, inclusive symphony, where LGBTQ+ visibility and acceptance blend harmoniously with the celebration of diversity. The Culture Shift Tour is like an initiative to teach all instruments the value of every sound, creating a masterpiece where every note, and every player, is valued.

The world of professional sports has often been characterized by rigid norms, particularly when it comes to gender and sexuality. In a candid discussion with former NHL goalie, Brock McGillis, he shared insights into his journey as a hockey player who broke the mold by embracing his authentic self and coming out as gay. Despite the athletic brilliance demanded on the ice, and off of it, players like McGillis have had to navigate a culture not always welcoming of diversity.

As a child, McGillis’s love for hockey was apparent – he spent every after-school moment he could at the rink, often hoping for a chance to stand in as goalie. Brock’s humor shone through as he joked with Rashod about his reasons for choosing such a high-pressure position: the cool equipment, end-of-game congratulations, and the crowd’s cheers with every save. Behind the banter, however, was an unspoken resilience, a trait necessary for both facing fast-flying pucks and confronting homophobia.

Brock McGillisBeyond personal triumph, McGillis is focused on a ‘culture shift tour’ aimed at combating discrimination and supporting marginalized communities in sports. The power of visibility is clear – putting real faces to experiences encourages empathy and change. Yet, McGillis is frank about the challenges still present, like parents perpetuating negative attitudes, and the urgent need for safe, inclusive spaces where young players can feel accepted no matter their sexual orientation.

The conversation highlighted the importance of dialogue in changing attitudes. Brock’s openness about his struggles with mental health and internalized oppression within the LGBTQ+ community underscores the necessity of discussions like these. The session touched on weightier issues, such as the historical discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals and the need to challenge language and behaviors that perpetuate intolerance.

Our chat with McGillis ended on a hopeful note, emphasizing the significant impact personal connections and open dialogue can have on societal acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. Brock McGillis’s journey is more than just about coming out or playing hockey; it’s about challenging stereotypes, advocating for acceptance, and the undeniable truth that being true to oneself can indeed change the game.




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