Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop announced on Monday he’s gay, becoming the first player below an NHL contract to publicly attain out. Sooner than Prokop’s announcement, no NHL player – active or retired – had attain out as gay.
In a lengthy Instagram put up, the 19-one year-extinct pretty-handed defenseman wrote: “I’m no longer shrinking to cowl who I’m. …From a younger age I gain dreamed of being an NHL player, and I imagine that living my reliable life will allow me to bring my entire self to the rink and reinforce my prospects of fulfilling my dreams.”
Prokop became once chosen in the third round by the Predators in the 2020 NHL draft. He signed a 3-one year entry-stage contract with Nashville in December.
Prokop thanked his household in the Instagram put up for meeting him with “esteem and reduction every step of the vogue.”
“I am hoping that in sharing who I’m I will be succesful to reduction diverse individuals look that gay individuals are welcome in the hockey neighborhood,” he added.
Prokop instructed the Predators group of his sexual orientation in June, and instructed ESPN that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called him to repeat him to attain out anytime.
“The Nashville Predators group is elated with Luke for the braveness he’s displaying in coming out this day and we can reduction him unequivocally in the days, weeks, and years to return as he continues to form as a prospect,” team president and CEO Sean Henry mentioned in an announcement launched by the team. “A lengthy-acknowledged purpose in our group is equality for all, including the LGBTQ neighborhood, and it is major that Luke feels cosy and fragment of an inclusive ambiance as he strikes forward in his occupation.”
Bettman and NHL Players Association Executive Director Don Fehr also equipped public reduction to Prokop on Monday following his announcement.
Prokop’s announcement comes on the heels of Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib coming out as gay and becoming the first active NFL player to be publicly out.
Previous iterations of athletes coming out in males’s prime-5 sports gain been rapid-lived. NBA player Jason Collins came out in direction of the tail end of his occupation in 2013, and MLS player Robbie Rogers retired four years after he publicly came out as gay in ’13.