Nashville Predators’ Luke Prokop says he is ‘no longer scared to hide’ after becoming the first active NHL player to come out as gay.
The Canadian defenceman, who was Nashville’s third-round draft pick in 2020, shared an emotional social media post to come out publicly.
Prokop, 19, said: ‘While the past year and a half has been crazy, it has also given me the chance to find my true self.
‘I am no longer scared to hide who I am. Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.’
Prokop hopes his coming out will help make hockey more inclusive and ‘welcoming’ for gay people.
‘It has been quite the journey to get to this point in my life, but I could not be happier with my decision to come out,’ he added.
‘From a young age I have dreamed of being an NHL player and I believe that living my authentic life will allow me to bring my whole self to the rink and improve my chances of fulfilling my dreams.
‘I hope that in sharing who I am I can help other people see that gay people are welcome in the hockey community, as we work to make sure that hockey truly is for everyone.
‘I may be new to the community but I am eager to learn about the strong and resilient people who came before me and paved the way so I could be comfortable today.
‘This is just the beginning of my journey and I am excited to see where it takes me, both in hockey and life.’
Following Prokop’s announcement, Nashville Predators president Sean Henry says the organisation was ‘proud’ of their player and would ‘support him unequivocally in the days, weeks and years to come’.
Nashville general manager David Poile added: ‘We understand his ability to be out comfortably will help him achieve his goals on and off the ice.
‘We are committed to ensuring nothing stands in the way of his ability. His courage is an inspiration to us, and to the LGBTQ community in Nashville.’
Last month, American football star Carl Nassib – who plays for the Las Vegas Raiders – became the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
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