ALEX CHADWICK, host:
Finally today, to the colder climes of Minnesota, where hundreds of hockey teams skate every Saturday undeterred by the frigid weather. There are many hockey leagues, including a gay hockey league.
Producer Larissa Anderson spoke with several of its players, including Mark Lechevalier.
Mr. MARK LECHEVALIER (Hockey Player): I used to skate Saturday mornings for over 10 years. And then when I came out and the guys that I'm skating with found out I was gay, they just never called me and invited me back.
In 1992, I tried to start a gay hockey league. I had about 15 people who showed interest, and we rented ice a few times. And it went about one season and then just kind of fell apart, because we just didn't have the growth. And I don't think there was the interest at that time.
People really didn't talk about it then. I think the whole idea of being gay and athletic is just still kind of a developing concept in the gay community.
(Soundbite of hockey game)
Mr. LECHEVALIER: There are a lot of gay athletes who just aren't out. And they feel that when, say, college or high school, or that organized level that they're involved in ends, they think the whole thing ends.
One of our players here, Kirby, he figured hockey was done. And then this group came along and he discovered it. And he has loved it.
Unidentified Man #1: I didn't think we were going to get any goals.
Mr. KIRBY PUMPER(ph) (Hockey Player): My name is Kirby Pumper and I have been playing hockey since I was two years old, and now I'm 21 - so 19 years. And I've been playing with the gay hockey team for - this is my second year now.
I know growing up in high school and stuff like that - I wasn't out because I knew it would affect the way other people treated me in high school. So once I came to college, I found this gay hockey association and I thought it was right for me, so I came out.
What's new this year is we have a new logo. First what we did was we came up with a name. You know, for us most of the team thought it was important to have the words Big Gay Moose on our jersey.
Unidentified Men: Moose!
Mr. PAMPER: The word gay shouldn't be something that people that shy away from. That's kind of one of those things where it's like we're not hiding anything from anyone anymore.
(Soundbite of music)
CHADWICK: And that story comes to us from the Minnesota Public Radio Show "In the Loop."
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.