(Photo Credits: Screengrab from Luke Prokop’s Official Instagram Account)
Canadian professional ice hockey player and Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop has come out as gay on Monday through an Instagram post. This makes Prokop, 19, the first active player under NHL contract to do so.
“While the past year and a half has been crazy, it has also given me the chance to find my true self. I am no longer scared to hide who I am,” Prokop’s announcement reads. “Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.”
“It has been quite the journey to get to this point in my life, but I could not be happier with my decision to come out. 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 continued.
Prokop credited his amazing family, friends, and agents who he said knew he was gay and “met him with love” and supported him every step of the way. Further, he said that in sharing who he is, he hopes he “can help other people see that gay people are welcome in the hockey community, as we work to make sure that hockey truly is for everyone.”
Read his statement in full below:
Prokop said he decided to come out in April. He told ESPN in an interview, “I was lying in bed one night, had just deleted a dating app for the fourth or fifth time, and I was extremely frustrated because I couldn’t be my true authentic self.” He added, “In that moment I said, ‘Enough is enough. I’m accepting who I am. I want to live the way I want to, and I want to accept myself as a gay man.'”
Prokop’s announcement was met with a positive response by both his team and the league officials. His team said via Twitter:
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 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. #HockeyIsForEveryone https://t.co/43grM47dJO— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) July 19, 2021
Meanwhile, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman thanked Prokop for coming out, for “sharing his truth and for being so brave.”
Luke Prokop originally hailed from Edmonton, Canada. These past four seasons, he played for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League (NHL) selected him in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.