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Canucks Malhotra to march in pride parade; will be joined by Patrick Burke

Vancouver Canucks' Manny Malhotra speaks to reporters after a negotiation session between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL, Wednesday, July 18, 2012, in New York. Malhotra will march in the Vancouver 2012 pride parade on Sunday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

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Vancouver Canucks' Manny Malhotra speaks to reporters after a negotiation session between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL, Wednesday, July 18, 2012, in New York. Malhotra will march in the Vancouver 2012 pride parade on Sunday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

VANCOUVER - Vancouver Canucks forward Manny Malhotra will march in the Vancouver 2012 pride parade on Sunday.

Malhotra will be joined by Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke and march with players from the Vancouver Cutting Edges, billed as the only gay hockey club in Western Canada.

The Canucks' centre is the third professional hockey player to participate in Pride events this year under the You Can Play banner.

Tommy Wingels of the San Jose Sharks and Vincent LoVerde, of the Ontario Reign, marched in Chicago on June 24.

Malhotra joins Canucks teammates Ryan Kesler, and Daniel and Henrik Sedin in lending his name and efforts to You Can Play, an organization dedicated to eliminating homophobia in sports.

"It's paramount that equality in sport, and beyond, becomes the norm," Malhotra said Wednesday.

"Everybody has the right to play the game they love," he added.

"I am excited to share this message of equality and show my support this Sunday."

Burke appeared in the debut You Can Play public service announcement in March with his father, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.

Burke noted that Vancouver has "a wonderful LGBT community and a passionate hockey community."

"We are thrilled to see the Canucks working to bring those two groups closer together," Burke said.

"Having a well-respected warrior in Manny stand up along with Henrik, Daniel, Ryan, and dozens of other NHLers around the League gives hope to young LGBT hockey players everywhere," he said.

The Burkes took part in Toronto's Pride Parade last month.

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