Patrick Burke is stepping down as the executive director of the You Can Play Project, a group he helped found.
The project is dedicated to fighting homophobia in sports.
Wade Davis, a former NFL player who announced his homosexuality in 2012, is replacing Burke.
Burke, the son of former NHL general manager Brian Burke, will stay on as the president but will be taking more of a background role.
“I think, for too long, we’ve had a straight voice kind of dominating the conversation,” Burke told reporters. “I think that there’s something to be said for empowering a gay, black, former NFL player who can connect with people in ways that I can’t.”
You Can Play’s campaign was launched in March of 2012 and has since grown rapidly.
The NHL and National Hockey League Players’ Association announced in April a partnership with the You Can Play Project.
“Our motto is ‘Hockey Is For Everyone,’ and our partnership with You Can Play certifies that position in a clear and unequivocal way,” Bettman said.
“While we believe that our actions in the past have shown our support for the LGBT community, we are delighted to reaffirm through this joint venture with the NHL Players’ Association that the official policy of the NHL is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands.”
The death of his brother, Brendan Burke, was the catalyst for the campaign.
Brendan came out publicly in 2009 as an openly gay man and was known for his efforts to combat homophobia in hockey.