Anders Nilsson wears pride flag on helmet in hopes of raising awareness

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Anders Nilsson is a lot more than a Buffalo Sabres goaltender.

The 26-year-old is enjoying a strong season - he has a .934 save percentage in eight games and seven starts - but he's making headlines for sporting a pride flag in support of the LGBT community on the back of his helmet.

Nilsson spoke about the flag with The Buffalo News' John Vogl, saying gay friends and witnessing their struggle was the impetus behind the decision.

"Life hasn't been easy for them growing up," Nilsson said. "It's time that hockey starts to pay some attention to that.

"This summer, I thought, why not be the first goalie to put (the pride flag) on the helmet and raise some awareness?"

Nilsson was the recipient of very high praise from Wade Davis, a former NFL player who came out after his playing career was over and who now serves as director of the You Can Play organization.

"Anders Nilsson is courageous beyond the understanding of many," Davis said. "He is taking a risk on multiple fronts and is standing up for something that he believes in, knowing the backlash that could come his way. He's my hero."

Nilsson said a lot's been done by You Can Play, hockey, and by the sports world in recent years, but much work needs to be done. With the flag on his helmet, he's doing his small part to keep progress moving forward.