Luke Prokop, a Nashville Predators prospect, has come out publicly as gay. The defenseman said he hopes his decision to live an “authentic life” will help him become a better hockey player.
Luke Prokop, a Nashville Predators prospect, came out as gay in an interview with ESPN. He said that he hopes his decision to live an authentic life will help him make it to the NHL one day.
Luke Prokop, a Nashville Predators prospect, became the first current player under NHL contract to come out as homosexual on Monday.
Prokop, who is 19 years old, announced the news on Instagram.
“It’s been a long road to this point in my life, but I couldn’t be more pleased with my choice to come out,” Prokop wrote. “I’ve aspired to be an NHL player since I was a child, and I think that living my genuine life will enable me to bring my entire self to the ice, increasing my chances of realizing my goals.”
No current or former NHL player has made a public statement.
The Predators chose Prokop, a 6-foot-4 right-handed defender from Edmonton, Alberta, in the third round of the 2020 NHL draft. In December, he signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Predators, and he was an alternate captain for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League last season.
He told ESPN that he had a difficult season last year and that he wanted to come out publicly to help him relax and play his best hockey.
When Prokop returned from Calgary after his season was cut short due to COVID-19, he made the choice to come out.
Prokop told ESPN, “I was laying in bed one night, having just canceled a dating app for the fourth or fifth time, and I was very upset because I couldn’t be my genuine honest self.” “‘Enough is enough,’ I remarked at the time. I’ve accepted myself for who I am. I want to live my life as I see fit and embrace myself as a homosexual guy.’”
Since informing the organization he is homosexual, Predators prospect Luke Prokop claims he has gotten support from club executives and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Getty Images/Marissa Baecker
This past year, Prokop started coming out to certain family members and colleagues, and in June, he informed Predators management that he was homosexual. He claimed the Predators have been very supportive of him, especially assistant general manager Brian Poile, who was the first person he spoke with from the club.
“He gave me a lot of support in that time and told me the Predators are 100 percent behind me and want the best for me, and they’re proud of me throughout this,” Prokop told ESPN. “I remember getting off the phone and tears welling up in my eyes because I was so happy. And I realized at that instant that this is how I’m going to feel for the rest of my life. It seemed like I could control the world when they showed their support at that moment.”
On Monday, the Nashville Predators issued expressions of support for Prokop, with captain Roman Josi telling NHL.com that the club is “clearly extremely proud of him for taking that step.”
“The Nashville Predators organization is proud of Luke for his bravery in coming out today, and we will unwaveringly support him as he continues to grow as a prospect in the days, weeks, and years ahead,” Predators president and CEO Sean Henry stated. “Equality for everyone, including the LGBTQ population, has long been a declared objective in our company, and it’s critical that Luke feels at ease and part of an inclusive workplace as he progresses in his career.”
Josi stated: “As a squad, our message is that we are clearly extremely supportive of him. We simply went out to him and informed him that we’re proud of him and that we’ll assist him with anything he needs. It’s a huge step for him, and we’re behind him 100 percent.”
Prokop stated he made his choice to come out independently of Carl Nassib’s declaration in June, but he was inspired by Nassib’s remarks and the response to his revelation. Nassib, a Las Vegas Raiders defensive end, was the first active NFL player to come out as homosexual.
One of Prokop’s concerns was that people would think he was making his statement to attract attention. One of the main reasons he wanted to come out was to live a more genuine life. He had to conceal his phone from teammates at the rink a lot last season.
Prokop praised his “wonderful family, friends, and agents — who have known about me and met me with love and support every step of the road,” according to his statement.
“I hope that by revealing who I am, I can show other people that homosexual individuals are accepted in the hockey community,” Prokop stated. “I may be new to the neighborhood, but I’m excited to learn about the strong and resilient individuals who came before me and paved the path for me to feel at ease now.”
For more than a decade, the NHL has strived to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. For Pride Night activities, players from all 31 teams have wrapped their sticks with rainbow tape. Several players, notably Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano and Vancouver Canucks goaltender Braden Holtby, as well as officials like Pittsburgh Penguins head of hockey operations Brian Burke and Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas, have marched in Pride parades in their hometowns.
You Can Play, a group that “works to promote the safety and inclusion of everyone in sports — including LGBTQ+ players, coaches, and spectators,” collaborated with the NHL and NHL Players’ Association in 2013.
“As NHL players, we all want to play a part in helping our teams succeed on the ice. Any teammate who can assist in those efforts should be welcomed “At the time, defender Ron Hainsey, who was also a member of the NHLPA executive board, stated. “This collaboration reaffirms the hockey community’s commitment to justice and equality for everyone.”
Prokop claims he has gotten support from the NHL behind the scenes after coming out to Predators management. He said that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had contacted him and informed him that he may contact him at any moment.
In a statement, Bettman stated, “I share his hope that these announcements will become more frequent in the hockey community.” “LGBTQ athletes, coaches, and staff can only achieve at their highest levels if they live their lives fully and authentically. We do not take this announcement’s significance and significance lightly.”
Bettman went on to say that the NHL wants to provide Prokop with a “welcoming and positive” environment, and that the organization would back any other players who “follow in his pioneering footsteps.”
Don Fehr, the NHLPA’s executive director, praised Prokop’s statement as well.
“We are certain that the NHL hockey community will rally around Luke as he pursues his dream of playing in the NHL, and we commend the example he is establishing for those in the game and beyond,” Fehr said in a statement.
It’s “impossible to put into words,” Prokop said, what it’ll be like to skate in a game next season knowing his truth is out there.
“I’m going to do the same with my skates. I’m going to wear the same jersey, strap my helmet on, and put on my gloves “”Prokop” said. “But I’ll finally be able to take a deep breath and exhale, revealing the true myself to the world. And I’m really looking forward to seeing where it may lead me, both as a hockey player and as a person.”
Luke Prokop is a prospect for the Nashville Predators. He came out as gay and hopes that his living an authentic life will help him in his hockey career. Reference: luke prokop wiki.
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