Andrew “Alpha” Brausen – 2015-2016 Essay

What Gay Hockey Means to Me

By Andrew “Alpha” Brausen

“Yeah, go Alpha!” is a phrase heard repeatedly on any given Sunday night at Hartmeyer. Why, you may ask? Well, friend, let me tell you a little story.

On a cold, snowy day, December 28th, 1984 a baby was born. The baby, born early, struggled their first few months of life, but the resilience of their soul won out. The day they were born this child was slapped with an “F” for female on their birth certificate, but he was far more special. This child would face much adversity and hardship for the next twenty-plus years of life. He would lose his family, his jobs, and almost life itself before discovering his inner Alpha wolf. This young man took all the courage he had to join a hockey league that promised to be safe, fun and have an encouraging environment. He found this and so much more.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with why I love gay hockey. The answer is that the young man is me. My name is Andrew Brausen, but you can call me Alpha. Through my time with the MGHA, I have learned many hockey skills; not that I don’t have much further to go. I continue to grow more every year. This is why I joined after all, but I got a whole lot more than I bargained for and it’s one of the reasons why I keep coming back.

One of the things I hadn’t expected was finding a group of not only gays and lesbians or even a group of LGBTQ+ people, but a community of people from all walks of life. Having these people around has opened my eyes to many new things as well as affirming to me that I’m not alone in my thinking. Do you think you could get better than that? It can and it does.

Through this group I found my pack, or to most of you; my family. I also found my voice. With these two things I have found reasons to live and to love myself. I found strength to try new things, not only on the ice, but off it as well. I know that no matter what I do I have got my pack behind me.

I can move mountains, tame rivers, and even find a better me than I did yesterday. I love gay hockey because gay hockey unconditionally loves me for who I am and everything I bring.

I hope to bring even more change for the future so all people feel they are heard. A future that judges you not on the what, but the who. A future that encourages everyone to be the best they can be so all people don’t need a league to feel accepted; they just know they are accepted.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and see what gay hockey means to me. I hope this inspires you to not only join if you are interested, but to follow your dreams, no matter where they take you.