“While this year and a half has been crazy, it has also given me the chance to find my true self,” Prokop said in a statement posted online, accompanied by rainbow-colored hearts.
“Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay. “
The story continues under the ad
The defender said he had taken “quite a journey” to get to this point, but “couldn’t be happier” deciding to go out publicly.
“From a young age, I have dreamed of being an NHL player, and I believe that living my authentic life will allow me to fully develop myself on the ice and improve my chances of achieving my dreams.
“Today is kind of the start of a new life for me,” Prokop told Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer. “I had to kind of hide who I was, especially with hockey for the last four or five years, and not be able to be who I am now.
“It’s a real relief.
The 19-year-old Edmonton-born thanked his family, friends and agents for their support throughout his journey, saying they met him with “love and support every step of the way. path ”.
“I hope that by sharing who I am I can help others see that gays are welcome in the hockey community as we work to make sure hockey is truly for everyone.
Canada to allow fully vaccinated U.S. Pleasure Travelers starting August 9
Canada extends ban on flights from India until August 21 amid fears of a Delta variant
“I may be new to the community, but I can’t wait to learn more about the strong and resilient people who came before me and led the way so that I can be more comfortable today. “
Prokop was selected 73rd overall by the Nashville Predators in the 2020 NHL Draft.
“The Nashville Predators organization is proud of Luke for the courage he shows in stepping out today, and we will stand by him unequivocally in the days, weeks and years to come as he continues to develop.” as a prospect, ”said Sean, President and CEO of the Predators. Henry said in a statement.
“It’s important that Luke feels comfortable and is part of an inclusive environment as he advances in his career.
Saskatchewan athlete who played college hockey when the NHL came out: “It’ll take one”
One of the “big concerns” for Prokop was how the hockey world was going to take the news. But he said he got to a point where he didn’t care.
“I have so much support from my friends, my family and even some of my teammates, I have this group around me… The negative talk of other people – it’s obviously going to be there. I am not naive. Some people don’t think it’s fair, but it’s been really good, ”he said.
” And I am happy. I am happy with everything that is happening.
One of the main reasons he came out, said Prokop, was to feel comfortable in himself and to inspire children to be themselves.
“It’s OK to be gay and play sports, OK to be gay and do what you love. “
In a statement posted on Twitter, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the organization was proud of Prokop for “sharing his truth and being so brave.”
“I share his hope that these announcements can become more popular in the hockey community,” said Bettman.
“LGBTQ players, coaches and staff can only perform at their best if they live their lives as themselves. We do not take the meaning and importance of his announcement lightly.
Bettman said the NHL is committed to doing “everything possible to ensure that Luke’s experience is welcoming and positive” and to ensure that all current and future players who wish to follow in the “pioneering footsteps” of Prokop know the league will fully support them.
In a social media statement, the Calgary Flames said they are proud to have Prokop as part of the Calgary Sport and Entertainment Company community.
“When people feel empowered to be themselves, the world becomes a better place,” the team said.
“Thank you, Luke, for being such an incredible representative for the Calgary Hitmen and our community. “
Last month, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib was the first NFL player to openly declare himself gay.