Luke Prokop, a nineteen year old top prospect for the Nashville Predators has officially become the first active player under NHL contract to come out as gay, and we simply couldn’t be happier for him.
“I hope that in sharing who I am I can help other people see that gay people are welcome in the hockey community, as we work to make sure that hockey is truly for everyone,” Prokop wrote in an IG post. “I may be new to the community, but I am eager to learn about the strong and resilient people who came before me and paved the way so I could be more comfortable today.”
Prokop, whose story we’ll get to shortly, has become another positive step in the NHL’s efforts to support the LGBTQ+ community, as the league has made many strides this past decade to show how much they care for equality amongst its players and fanbase, including wrapping rainbow tape around their sticks during pride month and even having players willingly participate in Pride Month parades. What an amazing time.
Prokop makes NHL history
Luke Prokop, who’s only nineteen years of age, made his announcement official on his Instagram, kicking off his statement with “Hi everyone. 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. Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.”
He continued: “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,” Prokop wrote. “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.”
When ESPN asked Prokop why decided to come out, he noted the following: “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. 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.’”
Support for the hockey star roles in
ESPN also reports how Prokop began telling family & friends his truth as early as Spring, and told Predators management this past June. Prokop, who claims that the NHL organization has been extremely supportive of his decision to disclose his truth, noted how the first person he actually met with regarding the team was assistant manager Brian Poile, and how the relief made him feel like he could “rule the world”.
“He in that moment showed me a lot of support and told me the Predators are behind me 1,000% and want what’s best for me and that they’re proud of me during this,” Prokop told ESPN. “I remember getting off that phone call and tears just started coming from my eyes, I was so excited. And in that moment, I thought, this is what it’s going to feel like for the rest of my life.”
Predators CEO Sean Henry also came out with a statement on behalf of the NHL organization, noting how they were “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. A long-stated goal in our organization is equality for all, including the LGBTQ community.”
What is your take on hockey player Luke Prokop becoming the first openly gay NHL hockey player? Do you support his decision to come out? Who is your favorite NHL hockey team? Comment below and let us know your thoughts!