Sunday, August 1

Luke Prokop Comes Out: 5 Things to Know About the 1st Openly Gay NHL Player


An icon on and off the ice. Luke Prokop made history when he became the first National Hockey League player — retired or active — to publicly come out.

“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,” the Nashville Predators prospect, 19, wrote via Instagram on Monday, July 19.  “Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.”

The sports star went on to talk about how he believes coming out will give him a chance to have the best career possible.

“Living my authentic life will allow me to bring my whole self to the rink and improve my chances of fulfilling my dreams,” he wrote. “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 is truly for everyone.”

While Prokop is certainly a trailblazer on his own accord, he also shouted out those who paved the way for him to live his truth.

“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,” he concluded. “This is just the beginning of my journey and I am excited to see where it takes me, both in hockey and in life.”

After sharing the news, Prokop received plenty of encouragement in his post’s comments section.

“The entire NHL supports you, Luke!” the official NHL Instagram account wrote. “All of Smashville is behind you, Luke!” the Predators’ account added.

Later, the teen told ESPN that he’d come out to his loved ones one month before his public announcement.

“I was lying in bed one night, had just deleted a dating app for the fourth or fifth time, and I was extremely frustrated because I couldn’t be my true authentic self,” he noted. “In that moment I said, ‘Enough is enough. I’m accepting who I am. I want to live the way I want to, and I want to accept myself as a gay man.’”

Scroll to learn five things about Luke Prokop:

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2. His Brother Plays Hockey Too

Prokop’s older brother, Josh Prokop, is also involved in the sport, according to eliteprospects.com

Courtesy Luke Prokop/Instagram

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3. He’s From Canada

Prior to his Nashville move, Prokop was raised in Edmonton, Alberta.

Courtesy Luke Prokop/Instagram

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4. He Wants to Inspire Others

“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 is truly for everyone,” Luke said in his Instagram statement.

Courtesy Luke Prokop/Instagram

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5. His Team Loves and Supports Him

After he made his announcement, Luke’s team shared a statement of their own via social media.

“The Nashville Predators organization is proud of Luke for the courage he is displaying in coming out today and we will support him unequivocally in the days, weeks, and years to come as he continues to develop as a prospect,” Predators president and CEO Sean Henry wrote in an Instagram post. “A long-stated goal in our organization is equality for all, including the LGBTQ community, and it is important that Luke feels comfortable and part of an inclusive environment as he moves forward in his career.”

During his conversation with ESPN, the Canada native noted that he decided to come out to the Predators’ assistant general manager, Brian Poile, early on.

“He in that moment showed me a lot of support and told me the Predators are behind me 1000 percent and want what’s best for me and that they’re proud of me during this,” the Canada native shared. “I remember getting off that phone call and tears just started coming from my eyes, I was so excited. And in that moment, I thought, this is what it’s going to feel like for the rest of my life. For them to show that support that they did in that moment, it felt like I can rule the world.”

Courtesy Luke Prokop/Instagram



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