Finnish hockey player Janne Puhakka has come out as gay in a new interview with the Finnish news site Helsingin Sanomat.
“It would be ideal if I didn’t have to talk about this,” he told the website. “But as long as people are silent on the subject, we must speak up.”
Puhakka — who was born in Epsoo, Finland and began competing professionally at the age of 16 — went on to explain how he wished that he could have come out while he still played in the Elite League, saying: “But I wasn’t good enough to have complete security in my job. That brought uncertainty.
“I’m sure other players fear the issue because of their jobs, as well.”
Although several other Finnish athletes have come out in recent years, Puhakka shared his fears about representation in the hockey world.
“The hockey world is somehow lagging behind,” he explained.
“We wouldn’t have to go through all this if everyone could be themselves in the locker room. I’m glad if even one junior or professional player finds something positive in this interview,” he added.
When Denmark’s Jon Lee-Olsen came out last month during an interview with the news program Go’ aften, he became just the third hockey player in the world to ever come out as gay, reports Out.