The NHL announced on Tuesday that Colorado Avalanche team captain Gabriel Landeskog became the latest professional athlete to speak on behalf of the You Can Play Project, making the league the first professional sports league in North America to have each of its member teams represented by players voicing support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender athletes and fans. Matthew Dellavedova Jersey . "Having full and, more importantly, ongoing participation from the NHL, is a milestone for acceptance of all athletes at every level of play and sport," said You Can Play executive director Wade Davis in a statement. "Every major mens sports league has been represented in a You Can Play video and now every team in one of the worlds premier sports leagues has actively participated. This support from professional leagues has a positive impact in locker rooms and anywhere sports are played." Landeskog, the Avalanches 21-year-old team captain and a member of the 2014 Swedish Olympic mens hockey team, appears in a video filmed with players from local high schools as part of the Colorado High School Activities Associations (CHSAA) You Can Play, Colorado! initiative - designed to promote diversity and inclusion while lessening bullying in sports and student activities. "Young athletes everywhere look up to National Hockey League players as leaders on inclusion," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Our players, our Clubs and every member of the NHL family will strive to support important initiatives such as You Can Play in our local communities and around the world." Dozens of players representing the NHL, Major League Soccer, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Football League and a number of minor leagues and college teams have made You Can Play videos in support of LGBT inclusion in sports. Butch Beard Jersey . Future Hall of Famer Ricky Ray is in his prime and back for a third season in double blue. The 34-year old was magnificent in 2013, throwing for just under 2,900 yards despite missing eight games, tossing an impressive 21 touchdowns against just two interceptions, completing 66 per cent of his passes in the process. Tyler Zeller Jersey . Spains victory rendered Frances 3-0 win against Finland meaningless as Spain needed just one point to secure passage to Brazil. Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema scored either side of Joona Toivios own-goal as France advanced to the playoff among the eight best second-place finishers.PITTSBURGH -- Chuck Noll, the Hall of Fame coach who won a record four Super Bowl titles with the Pittsburgh Steelers, died Friday night at his home. He was 82. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner said Noll died of natural causes. Noll transformed the Steelers from a long-standing joke into one of the NFLs pre-eminent powers, becoming the only coach to win four Super Bowls. He was a demanding figure who did not make close friends with his players, yet was a successful and motivating leader. The Steelers won the four Super Bowls over six seasons (1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979), an unprecedented run that made Pittsburgh one of the NFLs marquee franchises, one that breathed life into a struggling, blue-collar city. "He was one of the great coaches of the game," Steelers owner Dan Rooney once said. "He ranks up there with (George) Halas, (Tom) Landry and (Curly) Lambeau." Nolls 16-8 record in post-season play remains one of the best in league history. He retired in 1991 with a 209-156-1 record in 23 seasons, after inheriting a team that had never won a post-season game. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. Noll worked so well with Steelers President Rooney that the team never felt the need to have a general manager. When he retired, and was replaced by Bill Cowher, only four other coaches or managers in modern U.S. pro sports history had run their teams longer than Noll had. "Chuck Noll is the best thing that happened to the Rooneys since they got on the boat (to America) in Ireland," Art Rooney II, the former Steelers personnel chief and the son of the team founder, once said. A former messenger guard for his hometown Cleveland Browns who earned the nicknamed Knute Knowledge -- as in Knute Rockne -- Noll was an assistant with the San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Colts for nine seasons. Then he accepted what seemed a dead-end job in January 1969 as coach of the NFLs least-successful organization. Art Rooney Sr. often hired friends and cronies as coaches, and only two of the Steelers first 13 coaches had winning records. At the time Noll took over, the franchise was 105 games below .500 in its history. Noll, hired only after Penn States Joe Paterno turned down a $350,000, five-year offer, was different from any Steelers coach before him. He immediately brought intelligence, toughness, stability, confidence, character and a can-do mindset to a franchise accustomed to constant upheaval and ever-changing personnel. Asked at his first news conference if his goal was to make the Steelers respectable, Noll said, "Respectability? Who wants to be respectable? Thats spoken like a true loser." Perhaps not the most colorful coach behind the microphone, Noll could often be counted on for memorable, motivational one-liners that became rallying cries. Phrases like "A life of frustration is inevitable for any coach whose main enjoyment is winning," and "Before you can win a game, you have to not lose it," and "The thrill isnt in the winning, its in the doing," spoke volumes about what Noll was trying to accomplish. They went over well in a football-crazed region of Pennsylvania. The day after Noll was hired, the Steelers drafted defensive lineman Joe Greene. He was the first of the nine Hall of Famers selected during the Noll era. Four of the others were drafted within Nolls first four seasons: Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount, Jack Ham and Franco Harris. Four more arrived in the first five rounds of the 1974 draft: Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster. And the 1971 draft, though it produced only one Hall of Famer (Ham), generated seven starters. While the Steelers surprisingly won their opener under Noll in 1969, beating Detroit, they lost their final 13 games that season, and their first three in 1970. By then, some were questioning Nolls hiring. The Steelers turnaround began in earnest iin 1970, the year they moved into the AFC after the NFL and AFL merged. Jim Brewer Jersey. They drafted Bradshaw with the No. 1 pick, moved into Three Rivers Stadium after years of being a secondhand tenant of Pitt Stadium and Forbes Field. They won five of eight during one stretch. By 1972, the year Harris arrived to give them the ground game Noll sought, they were championship contenders with an 11-3 record and a weve-turned-the-corner attitude. Noll had long since run off underachievers and pushed the Rooneys to bring in the players he wanted. "Hell argue a point with you and keep yelling, No, this is right, youre wrong," Dan Rooney said. "Sometimes you have to say, This is the way were going to do it." The first traditional playoff game in Steelers history on Dec. 23, 1972, also signalled what was to come. The Steelers were in control of the John Madden-coached Raiders most of the game, until quarterback Ken Stabler scored in the final two minutes to put Oakland up 7-6. With the Steelers down to fourth-and-10 on their side of the field, Bradshaw lofted a pass downfield intended for Frenchy Fuqua. As Fuqua and safety Jack Tatum converged on the ball, it bounded high in the air for what looked to be a certain incompletion. Instead, Harris, trailing on the play, caught the ball nearly at his shoe tops and raced into the end zone for an improbable touchdown. The play would quickly become known as the "Immaculate Reception." Nolls Steelers did not win the Super Bowl that season -- they lost to unbeaten Miami on a fake punt in the AFC title game. But, with their roster completed by their remarkable 1974 draft, they finally became NFL champions and did it three more times by January 1980. Still, Nolls best team might have been in 1976, when the Steelers rebounded from a 1-4 start to go 10-4 -- even with Bradshaw injured and out most of the season -- by playing the greatest stretch of defence in NFL history. The Steel Curtain shut out five of their final nine opponents while yielding only 28 points. At one point, they didnt allow a touchdown for 22 quarters. However, Harris and Rocky Bleier, 1,000-yard rushers that season, were injured in a playoff game against Baltimore. Without a running game, they lost the AFC title to Oakland. A year later, Noll wound up in a federal court trial. He accused Raiders defensive back George Atkinson, who had levelled Swann with a brutal hit the season before, of being part of the NFLs "criminal element." Noll prevailed, but there were hard feelings when, under oath, he included Blount as also being part of that criminal element. The Steelers went 9-5 that season, but rebounded to win the championship in the 1978 and 1979 seasons. When all the talent began to retire, the championships ended. Great drafts gave way to poor ones. The Steelers won only two playoff games and no conference championships in Nolls final 12 seasons, missing the post-season eight times. Noll never was much of a yeller or screamer, though he had his moments. He confronted Oilers coach Jerry Glanville at midfield and warned him about the teams borderline-legal blocking techniques. "He didnt feel like it was his job to motivate," Bleier said. "It was his job to take motivated people and give them a direction and get the job done." When he retired, Noll always said he would never coach another team and he didnt. In 2007, the football field at St. Vincent College, the Steelers longtime training camp home in Latrobe, was named for Noll, even though he played at and graduated from Dayton. Born in Cleveland, Noll attended Benedictine High School, where he played running back and tackle, winning All-State honours, before gaining a scholarship to play for the Flyers. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburghs biggest, most traditional rival, in 1953. At 27, he retired as a player from the Browns in 1959. ' ' '
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