Predators' Luke Prokop comes out as gay, becomes NHL's first openly gay player

Predators' Luke Prokop comes out as gay, becomes NHL's first openly gay player

Luke Prokop made history on Monday.

The Predators defenseman signed an entry-level contract with Nashville in December, but perhaps the bigger life event happened for him on July 19, when the 19-year-old came out as gay, becoming the NHL’s first openly gay player.

Prokop posted a tweet announcing it:

Prokop’s statement in full:

Hi everyone. 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.

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. 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 wouldn’t be able to do this without my amazing family, friends, and agents – who have known this abut me and met me with love and support every step of the way. 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 more comfortable today. This is just the beginning of my journey and I am excited to see where it takes me, both in hockey and in life.

Thank you!

Prokop detailed his reasons for coming out with The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun:

“I don’t want to have to walk into the gym or to the arena or just to practice, and keep thinking, ‘Who knows? Who doesn’t?’ This is who I am,” Prokop said.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big topic of conversation, that’s not what I want it to be. It’s just, ‘Hey, here’s who I am.’ It gets it off my chest. So I don’t have to worry and wonder about other people.”

Prokop, the right-shot defenseman, is projected to be a depth defenseman at the next level. He played with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. 

The NHL world offered words of support for Prokop’s decision to come out: