A Nashville Predators prospect turned out to be gay ahead of his NHL debut camp.
Luke Prokop, a 19-year-old Canadian who was a second-round pick in the 2020 draft last fall, posted on Twitter on Monday.
“It has been quite a journey to get to this point in my life, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come out,” he said. “From a young age, I have dreamed of being an NHL player, and I believe living my authentic life will allow me to bring my whole being to the ice, which will improve my chances of achieving my dreams.
No active NHL player has ever turned out to be gay. Prokop said he hopes his example shows gay people are welcome in the hockey community.
Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib in June became the first active NFL player to come out.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement that the league was proud of Prokop and thanked him “for sharing his truth and for being so brave.”
“I share his hope that these announcements may become more common in the hockey community,” said Bettman. “LGBTQ players, coaches and staff can only perform at their best if they live their lives fully and truly. We do not take the meaning and importance of this announcement lightly.
The Predators said in a statement that the club are “proud of Luke for the courage he shows in coming out today, and we will stand behind him unequivocally in the days, weeks and years to come as he continues. to develop as a prospect ”.
Prokop is from Edmonton, Alberta. He has played part of the past four seasons with Calgary in the Western Hockey League. He said the past year and a half gave him a chance to find his real self.
“I’m no longer afraid to hide who I am,” said Prokop. “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 who are leading the way so that I can be more comfortable today. “
Bettman vowed that the NHL will “do everything possible to make sure Luke’s experience is welcoming and positive” and will work to ensure the support of the players who follow his path in the future.
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