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Luke Prokop Makes History As First Player Under NHL Contract to Come Out as Gay

In a statement posted to Instagram on Monday, hockey player Luke Prokop made history by publicly coming out as gay, the first player under NHL contract to do so.

“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,” he wrote in his post. “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.”

As reported by ESPN, no National Hockey League player, active or retired, has come out publicly before Prokop. The 19-year-old Canadian athlete was selected by the Nashville Predators in the 2020 NHL draft, and told ESPN that he “struggled” throughout his last season and coming out is something he believes will help “ease his mind and allow him to play his best.”

“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,” Prokop continued in his statement.

Soon after his announcement, the Nashville Predators tweeted support for their prospect player, praising him for his “courage.”

While speaking to ESPN, Prokop shared that he decided he wanted to come out back in April. “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,” Prokop said. “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.'”

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