Capitals forward Matt Hendricks has become the latest NHL player to support the You Can Play project, which works to foster equality, respect and safety for all athletes regardless of sexual orientation.

If you haven’t already read Barry Svrluga’s story on why Hendricks sought to join forces with You Can Play, be sure to check it out. An excerpt follows.

Matt Hendricks grew up in hockey locker rooms. He has spent his entire adult life in them. He knows the parlance of these places, at times inspirational and uplifting, at others sophomoric and crass, at still others offensive and hurtful.

Monday afternoon, when Hendricks stepped off the ice at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex following an informal preseason workout, he headed into what is now his home locker room with the Washington Capitals. It is, he believes, a welcoming place. He is taking steps to help all locker rooms, from youth leagues to the NHL, become that way.

“I think words are thrown around that people don’t necessarily understand the meanings of them, or the ramifications — what they could potentially do to someone’s feelings,” Hendricks said. “Looking back to when I was a younger player, before I got into the professional ranks, the slurs and the terminology that’s used in the locker rooms at a younger age isn’t necessarily out there to be malicious, but it definitely could be.

Learn more about the You Can Play project here