Presented by ROGERS

Brendan McFatridge

Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

Brendan McFatridge is an exceptional leader, bravely standing up for himself and others by combating bullying and discrimination in hockey and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and inclusivity in sport. He is actively engaged in making an impact in his community through fundraising, organizing events, and excelling academically and in community service.

In February of 2021, he came out as gay while playing hockey at the highest club level (AAA),  becoming the first openly gay hockey player at the elite level in Alberta, and was the first openly gay player to be drafted into the Western Hockey League. These accomplishments will leave a lasting impact on the hockey culture in the AEHL and the WHL forever– proving to young gay athletes that they can do it too. At his Catholic high school, he publicly confronted homophobic attitudes, earning a place at the Student Voice Summit and gaining respect from peers for his courage.

Brendan’s actions not only represented a personal milestone but also marked a significant step towards inclusivity in sports, proving that hockey players can be openly gay and challenging societal norms in the sports realm. Despite the hurdles, Brendan’s perseverance and courage have left an enduring impact on the hockey culture in Alberta and beyond, setting a precedent for acceptance and diversity in athletics.

Throughout his journey, Brendan has consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership, dedicating himself to initiatives that uplift and empower young Canadians. As the student leader of his school’s STOMP Student Action team, Brendan spearheaded fundraising efforts, raising over$5000 to sustain our anti-vaping program, showcasing his unwavering commitment to the wellbeing of his peers. He also organized a donation-based Christmas store, generating over $2000 for the Divine Mercy Orphanage in India, and annually supports Ty’s Toy Drive for the Stollery Children’s Hospital, spreading joy to countless children facing adversity.

Brendan’s leadership prowess extends to Cards for Care YEG, where he mobilizes efforts to uplift patients in the Alberta Health Care system through heartfelt cards, and his involvement in the Backpacks for Homeless campaign, which provided essential supplies to over 250 homeless individuals, exemplifies his compassion and dedication to community service. Furthermore, Brendan’s advocacy work transcends conventional boundaries.

Brendan has been recognized for his academic excellence, receiving honors with distinction from 2018 to 2023, a Leadership Award, and being named a semi-finalist for the prestigious Loran Scholarship. His commitment to excellence extends beyond academics; Brendan excels in sports and the arts, embodying a well-rounded and dedicated approach to all aspects of his life.

He has also been actively involved in community initiatives, leveraging his leadership skills to promote positive change.

Brendan’s journey is not just a story of achievements but a testament to resilience, courage, and a relentless dedication to creating a better world for everyone. His ability to lead, inspire, and effect tangible change is a beacon of hope for youth across Canada, embodying the spirit of service, inclusion, and advocacy that defines true leadership.