BY NATASHA BARSOTTI —
Britannia Hockey Academy goaltender Cory Oskam recently met his namesake Canucks goalie Cory Schneider on the ice at Vancouver's Rogers Arena, where the home team played host to the Calgary Flames Jan 23.
An nhl.com network account of the meeting of the two Corys says the experience is "all a blur" for 16-year-old Oskam. "He remembers the thrill of
skating onto the ice, meeting Schneider and standing beside him for 'O
Canada.' That’s about it."
Oskam, who is transgender, said he was in the process of choosing a new name for himself around the time he began collecting Schneider hockey cards. "My mom suggested Cory, and I started using it around the house. It felt very right. Cory felt very right.”
Oskam, who was a presenter at a Dare to Stand Out conference
workshop on supporting gender-non-conforming
and transgender youth in schools, recalls going to all his classes last year to
let fellow students know he was transitioning. He has nothing but praise
for the way Britannia’s administration supported him in that process.
“The vice-principal went into my classes, and they just simply said,
‘Look, this is what’s happening, and if you have a problem or questions,
please ask,’” Oskam says. “You really need that support staff.”
Oskam sees the conference as a place to build friendships. “It’s great
to get everyone together because some people just feel so alone, and this
conference shows that you’re not alone.” His mom, Nicole, told him he'd
be skating with Schneider and the Canucks before giving his
talk at Dare to Stand Out.
For his on-ice appearance, Oskam wore an old pair of Schneider’s pads that he purchased at a Canucks equipment sale. He got them autographed and they’re now retired in his room.
Last year, the Canucks signed on to the You Can Play campaign, spearheaded by Brian Burke and his son Patrick, which continues to make headlines with its
challenge to National Hockey League players to support and welcome gay
Manny Malhotra also became the first member of the Canucks hockey team to march in the Vancouver Pride parade last August.
For more on Xtra's coverage of You Can Play, click on the links below:
Will the Burkes' You Can Play campaign change hockey culture?
Toronto Maple Leafs stars support gay players
Canucks stars have a message for gay athletes: You can play
Marlies sign 'groundbreaking' pledge to support gay teammates
Come out, straight allies