Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop made historical past on Monday when he introduced to the world in an Instagram submit that he’s homosexual, changing into the primary energetic participant on a Nationwide Hockey League (NHL) contract to take action.
“Whereas the previous 12 months and a half has been loopy, it has additionally given me the possibility to seek out my true self. I’m now not scared to cover who I’m,” he wrote. “At present I’m proud to publicly inform everybody that I’m homosexual.”
“It has been fairly the journey to get up to now in my life, however I couldn’t be happier with my choice to return out,” the 19-year-old defenseman from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, wrote on Instagram. “From a younger age I’ve dreamed of being an NHL participant, and I imagine that residing my genuine life will permit me to carry my complete self to the rink and enhance my probabilities of fulfilling my desires.”
In accordance with ESPN, no NHL participant has ever come out publicly up to now, energetic or retired.
Prokop advised ESPN hockey reporter Emily Kaplan that he needed to return out publicly as a result of he felt it could permit him to play his greatest hockey after a sruggle-filled season.
“I used to be mendacity in mattress one night time, had simply deleted a courting app for the fourth or fifth time, and I used to be extraordinarily pissed off as a result of I could not be my true genuine self,” Prokop stated to ESPN. “In that second I stated, ‘Sufficient is sufficient. I am accepting who I’m. I wish to dwell the way in which I wish to, and I wish to settle for myself as a homosexual man.'”
The 6-foot-4 Prokop advised ESPN that he began popping out to some relations and teammates within the final 12 months, and advised Predators administration in June, and was thrilled by their assist.
Predators assistant basic supervisor Brian Poile “in that second confirmed me quite a lot of assist and advised me the Predators are behind me 1,000% and need what’s greatest for me and that they are pleased with me throughout this,” Prokop stated to ESPN. “I bear in mind getting off that telephone name and tears simply began coming from my eyes, I used to be so excited.”
“And in that second, I believed, that is what it is going to really feel like for the remainder of my life,” he continued. “For them to indicate that assist that they did in that second, it felt like I can rule the world.”
Waves of assist poured in from accross the skilled hockey world, together with the league’s commissioner, Gary Bettman, who thanked Prokop “for sharing his reality and for being so courageous.”
“I share his hope that these bulletins can turn out to be extra widespread within the hockey neighborhood,” Bettman wrote, including: “We don’t take the which means and significance of this announcement frivolously.”
“We pledge to do the whole lot potential to make sure that Luke’s expertise is a welcoming and affirmative one and proceed to work to make sure that any present or future NHL participant considering following in his trailblazing footsteps is aware of our League is able to present full assist,” Bettman concluded.
Nashville captain Roman Josi stated that “we’re clearly very pleased with him for taking that step,” including: “Our message as a crew [is that] we’re clearly very supportive of him. We simply reached out and advised him [we’ll help with] no matter he wants and that we’re pleased with him. It is a large step for him and we absolutely assist him.”
“The Nashville Predators group is pleased with Luke for the braveness he’s displaying in popping out at present and we’ll assist him unequivocally within the days, weeks, and years to return as he continues to develop as a prospect,” president and CEO Sean Henry stated. “An extended-stated objective in our group is equality for all, together with the LGBTQ neighborhood, and it’s important that Luke feels comfy and a part of an inclusive surroundings as he strikes ahead in his profession.”
“Luke is a valued prospect of the Nashville Predators and we predict he has a brilliant future,” Predators basic supervisor David Poile stated. “We wish Luke to turn out to be a profitable hockey participant, and we perceive his means to be out comfortably will assist him obtain his objectives on and off the ice. We’re dedicated to making sure nothing stands in the way in which of his means. His braveness is an inspiration to us, and to the LGBTQ neighborhood in Nashville.”
“We’re so pleased with you, Luke,” Prokop’s present crew, the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, wrote on Twitter. “Illustration issues and your braveness will assist so many others. We hope that future athletes received’t have to make these form of statements & we stay dedicated to selling inclusion & acceptance in our sport & supporting the LBGTQ+ neighborhood.”
Former United States girls’s crew captain Meghan Duggan, who’s believed to be the primary brazenly homosexual hockey operations worker within the NHL, referred to as it an “essential day” for the league.
New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba wrote on Twitter that he’s “proud to assist” Prokop.
“Massive day for the hockey neighborhood exhibiting that #HockeyIsForEveryone,” Trouba added.
Prokop’s announcement comes a month after Carl Nassib, a defensive finish for the Las Vegas Raiders, made historical past when he turned the primary energetic NFL participant to return out as homosexual.