Luke Prokop made hockey history Monday without stepping on the ice.
The 19-year-old Nashville Predators prospect and Calgary Hitmen defenseman announced on social media that he was gay, becoming the The first openly gay active hockey player under contract with the NHL.
“Hello everyone. Although the last year and a half has been crazy, it has also given me the chance to find my real me. I am no longer afraid to hide who I am. Today I am proud of publicly tell everyone I’m gay, ”Prokop wrote in an Instagram post Monday.
Prokop, a 6-foot-4 defenseman from Edmonton, Alta., Was drafted by Nashville in the third round of the 2020 NHL Draft and signed his three-year entry-level contract in December while playing in WHL’s shortened season. He slowly started having conversations with his friends, family and teammates over the past few months, before going public.
“I was lying in bed one night, had just deleted a dating app for the fourth or fifth time, and was extremely frustrated because I couldn’t be my real, authentic self.” Prokop told ESPN. “At that point, I said, ‘Enough is enough. I accept who I am. I want to live the way I want to and I want to accept myself as a gay man.’”
The hockey world comes to the aid
With that weight off his shoulders, he received support from the hockey world and the organization that drafted him a year ago.
“The Nashville Predators organization is proud of Luke for his courage in coming today and we will stand behind him unequivocally in the days, weeks and years to come as he continues to develop in as a prospect, “said Sean, president and CEO of the Predators. said Henri.
“A long-standing goal of our organization is equality for all, including the LGBTQ community, and it is important that Luke feels comfortable and is part of an inclusive environment as he moves forward in his career. career.”
“Our message as a team [is that] we obviously support him a lot, ”said Predators captain Roman Josi.
“We just reached out and said to her [we’ll help with] everything he needs and that we are proud of him. It’s a big step for him and we fully support him… I’m not trying to speak for him, but he just wants to be one of the guys. Like all the other teammates. This is obviously great news, but I think for us and for him, then he will come to camp and he will be one of our teammates like everyone else. “
Defenseman Mark Borowiecki is a member of the Predators who has actively supported the LGBTQ + community during his time in Nashville and with the Ottawa Senators.
“I wanted to make sure he knew that I was available as a resource,” Borowiecki said, “and especially as a friend. LGBTQ equality and inclusion, especially in sport, are things my wife and me are passionate about.
“Seeing the bravery and guts it takes for Luke, a young man who isn’t an established player in this league, to come out and be so open and honest, I think that’s just amazing and honestly very. , very impressive.”
From all over the hockey world, messages of support and adoration have come from players, teams and personalities.
This fall, Prokop will attend his first professional training camp with the Predators.
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