All nine members of the intercollegiate PAC-8 Hockey Conference on Thursday pledged their support for openly gay athletes.

The PAC-8 and all member teams announced their support for the You Can Play Project, which works to end discrimination and homophobia in the sport of hockey.

“You Can Play is thrilled to have the support of the PAC-8 Conference,” Patrick Burke, co-founder of the You Can Play Project and a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers, said in a statement. “Their athletes and administrators are showing tremendous leadership in addressing this issue head on. We are excited that LGBT athletes have a safe home in the PAC-8.”

Johnny Nguyen, executive director for the PAC-8, added: “It's unfortunate that this sort of declaration is still necessary, but the teams of the PAC-8, and the conference itself, have pledged their commitment to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all athletes in the locker room, and on the ice.”

“[H]omophobia at any level is simply unacceptable,” he added.

PAC-8 teams include Arizona State University, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Oregon, Stanford University, University of Southern California, University of Utah, University of Washington, and Washington State University.

The You Can Play Project honors the memory of Brendan Burke, a college hockey player who in 2009 announced he was gay and advocated against homophobia in sports, especially hockey. He tragically died in an auto accident at the age of 21.