Nashville Predators’ Luke Prokop has become the primary active NHL player signed by a club to return out as gay.
The Canadian, 19, who is yet to play for Nashville, was their third-round draft pick in 2020.
In a statement on social media, Prokop said: “While the past year and a half has been crazy, it’s also given me the prospect to seek out my true self. I’m not scared to cover who I’m.
“Today I’m proud to publicly tell everyone that I’m gay.”
The defenceman added: “It has been quite the journey to urge to the present point in my life, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to return out.
“From a young age I even have dreamed of being an NHL player and that 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’m I can help people see that gay people are welcome within the hockey community, as we work to form sure that hockey truly is for everybody.
“I could also be new to the community but I’m wanting to study the strong and resilient people that came before me and paved the way so I might be comfortable today. this is often just the start of my journey and that I am excited to ascertain where it takes me, both in hockey and life.”
The Nashville Predators president/chief executive Sean Henry said the organization was “proud” of Prokop and would “support him unequivocally within the days, weeks, and years to come”.
Their president of hockey operations/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 making sure nothing stands within the way of his ability. His courage is an idea to us, and to the LGBTQ community in Nashville.”
Prokop is that the fourth professional hockey player to publicly announce he’s gay, after America’s Brendan Burke, who played for the RedHawks, Sweden’s Lars Peter Karlsson, and Denmark’s Jon-Lee Olsen.