Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop announced Monday on social media that he’s gay, saying he “couldn’t be happier” with his decision to come out.
The 19-year-old is believed to be the first active player with an NHL contract to come out, ESPN reported. Prokop, who last played with the Calgary Hitman of the Western Hockey League, revealed that he’s gay in posts on Instagram and Twitter.
“While the past year and a half has been crazy, it has also given me the chance to find my true self,” he wrote. “I am no longer scared to hide who I am. Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.”
“From a young age I have dreamed of being an NHL player, and I believe that living my authentic life will allow me to bring my whole self to the rink and improve my chances of fulfilling my dreams,” he added.
Prokop said he hopes his announcement “can help other people see that gay people are welcome in the hockey community.”
Prokop, who is from Edmonton, Canada, was drafted by the Predators in the 2020 NHL Draft. The player received messages of support throughout the hockey world.
“The Nashville Predators organization is proud of Luke for the courage he is displaying in coming out today and we will support him unequivocally in the days, weeks, and years to come as he continues to develop as a prospect,” the team wrote.
The hockey players’ union, the NHLPA, said they “commend the courage demonstrated by Luke Prokop to disclose his truth.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman also issued a statement on Prokop’s decision to come out, saying the league is proud of him for “sharing his truth and for being so brave.”
Statement from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Luke Prokop’s (@lukeprokop_6) decision to publicly come out as gay: pic.twitter.com/4S7rWI872W
“I share his hope that these announcements can become more common in the hockey community,” Bettman said. “LGBTQ players, coaches and staff can only perform at their absolute best if they live their lives as their full and true selves. We do not take the meaning and importance of this announcement lightly.”
Last month, Carl Nassib made history by becoming the first openly gay active NFL player.
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