NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On Monday morning, 19-year-old Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop shared with the world that he is proud to publicly come out as gay.
There has never been an openly gay active hockey player in the NHL.
Prokop, a defenseman for the Calgary Hitmen junior hockey team in Canada, was drafted in the third round of the 2020 NHL Draft by the Predators.
“It has been quite the journey to get to this point in my life, but I cannot be happier with my decision to come out,” Prokop said in a statement on Twitter. “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 improve my chances for filling my dreams.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement that said in part, "We are proud of Luke Prokop for today's announcement and I would like to thank him for sharing his truth and for being so brave."
Bettman said the NHL pledges "to do everything possible to ensure Luke's experience is a welcoming and affirmative one," while pledging support to any current or future player who is also considering coming out.
Prokop said he hopes by sharing this that people will see that gay people are welcome in the hockey community.
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The Nashville Predators released a statement saying the club 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.”
Just last month, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
"This is just the beginning of my journey and I am excited to see where it takes me, both in hockey and in life," Prokop wrote.