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Chris Tierney Named Sharks' Ambassador to You Can Play

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The Cobra is making sure Hockey Is For Everyone

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the NHL announced that February would be Hockey Is For Everyone month, an initiative made in collaboration with both the Players Association and You Can Play, an organization whose mission is to eliminate homophobia and transphobia in sports.

“You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation and/or gender identity. You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, and only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success. You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.”

As part of You Can Play's efforts, they revealed that every team this season has named an ambassador to YCP, someone who is dedicated to “being a leader in the locker room and in the community on diversity, equality, and inclusion.”

For the Sharks, the obvious choice at the start of the season would have been Tommy Wingels, who has been vocally supportive of You Can Play throughout his career. It wouldn't be surprising for that tradition to continue for him in Ottawa (though Dion Phaneuf got the nod as Ottawa's YCP ambassador this year).

In Wingels' absence, Chris Tierney has been named the Sharks' ambassador to YCP – though that's not to say he earned the title without merit. Tierney has been incredibly active in the San Jose community, and especially with the Sharks Foundation. Earlier this week, he visited the Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center with Paul Martin and Micheal Haley as part of Capes for Heroes.

He's got a solid history of being good with kids in the community, an important skill to have when trying to create a culture change. Check out how adorable he is helping kids with eye exams and getting fitted for glasses at the start of this season:

Tierney cares about his teammates and his community and his commitment to the diversity of the sport feels authentic. This is a fantastic leadership opportunity for him and shows his place in the locker room is an important one. Even a quick glance through his twitter shows nothing but support for his teammates, a love for San Jose, and a desire for positive culture change:

While other teams potentially used this as a PR opportunity (Andrew Shaw, anyone?), the Sharks choosing Tierney seems like a genuine effort to meet the needs of the LGBT community, both in the fan base, and in the locker room.

Here's the full list of ambassadors to You Can Play:

Anaheim Ducks – Ryan Kesler

Carolina Hurricanes – Eddie Lack

Calgary Flames – Matt Stajan

Chicago Blackhawks – Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Colorado Avalanche – Gabriel Landeskog

Columbus Blue Jackets – Scott Hartnell

Dallas Stars – Curtis McKenzie

Detroit Red Wings – Frans Nielsen

Edmonton Oilers – Matt Hendricks

Florida Panthers – Shawn Thornton

Los Angeles Kings – Dustin Brown

Minnesota Wild – Charlie Coyle

Montreal Canadiens – Andrew Shaw

Nashville Predators – Colin Wilson

New Jersey Devils – Andy Greene

New York Islanders – Casey Cizikas

New York Rangers – Mats Zuccarello

Ottawa Senators – Dion Phaneuf

Philadelphia Flyers – Claude Giroux

Pittsburgh Penguins – Chris Kunitz

San Jose Sharks – Chris Tierney

St. Louis Blues – David Perron

Tampa Bay Lightning – Brian Boyle

Toronto Maple Leafs – James van Riemsdyk

Vancouver Canucks – Henrik Sedin

Washington Capitals – Braden Holtby

Winnipeg Jets – Jacob Trouba

The Sharks will host a Hockey Is For Everyone night on March 2nd versus the Canucks.