Referee takes a very brave step, publicly admits he is gay.

Referee comes out as a homosexual.

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An ECHL referee has taken a big step and publicly admitted that is homosexual.

While there has not been an openly gay player in the National Hockey League, it may be a little easier now that referee Anrde Barone has demonstrated that you can come out as openly gay and the hockey world will embrace you.

In a recent interview with The Hockey News Barone discussed the challenges of growing up a gay man in a hockey crazed market like Quebec, Canada.

"As much progress that has been made,” he wrote, “the sports world is still unfamiliar territory for the LGBTQ community.”

Barone says his decision was prompted by the fact that he felt isolated when growing up gay in the hockey world, and presumably he wants to help pave the way for other member of the LGBT community, as well as help them feel more comfortable and less alone.

It's a brave move that will likely be unpopular with some, but Barone's peers have all embraced him, and at the end of the day that's what truely matters.