Luke Prokop, an NHL Candidate Reveals He’s Gay

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Luke Prokop, 19, of the Nashville Predators, became the first player to have an NHL contract on Monday to publicly reveal that he is gay.

Prokop, of Edmonton, Alberta, made his statement in a newspaper. Instagram post“I’ve dreamed of being an NHL player from a young age and I believe living my authentic life will allow me to bring my whole self to the track and increase my chances of fulfilling my dreams.”

Prokop, a third-round pick by the Predators in the 2020 NHL draft, wrote: “Although the past year and a half has been crazy, it has given me a chance to find my true self. I’m no longer afraid to hide who I am. Today I’m proud to tell everyone I’m gay.”

Last month, Carl FateA defensive end with the Las Vegas Raiders, becoming the first active NFL player to come out. Prokop’s announcement came at a time of increased acceptance and inclusion in international sports. At least 142 public LGBTQ Olympians According to Outsports.com, more than twice the number of participants at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro have been selected for the Tokyo Games, which begin Friday.

The first known trans woman athlete to qualify for the competition, Laurel Hubbard is a New Zealand weightlifter.

“The rise of social media, especially Instagram, has given athletes a forum where they can live their lives openly and identify directly with their followers,” Outsports said last week.

Prokop said he hopes his statement will show others that gay players are welcome in hockey. No active NHL players have ever come out as gay.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman thanked Prokop for “sharing the truth and being so brave.”

“I share the hope that these announcements can become more prevalent in the hockey community. 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 underestimate the meaning and importance of this announcement,” Bettman said.

Don Fehr, general manager of the NHL players association, said: in a statement“We know the NHL hockey community will support Luke as he strives towards his goal of playing in the NHL, and we applaud the example he sets for those in the hockey game and beyond.”

The Predators said in a statement that the club “is very proud of Luke for his courage in coming out today and we will openly support him in the days, weeks and years to come as he continues to evolve as a hope.”

prokop told ESPN He said he struggled last season while playing for Calgary in the Western Hockey League and he felt that going out would relax him and allow him to play at the highest level. He said he made his decision in April.

“I was in bed one night, deleted a dating app for the fourth or fifth time, and I was so frustrated because I couldn’t be my true self,” Prokop told ESPN. “At that moment, I said: ‘Enough is enough. I accept who I am. I want to live the way I want and I want to accept myself as a gay man.’”

In his Instagram post, Prokop wrote: “I may be new to the community, but I can’t wait to learn about the strong and resilient people who came before me and paved the way for me to be more comfortable today.”



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