A Nashville Predators prospect has come out as gay, the first player signed to an NHL contract to make that declaration publicly.
Luke Prokop said he was proud to say he is gay. The 19-year-old Canadian who was a third-round pick in the 2020 draft last fall posted his announcement to Twitter on Monday.
"It has been quite the journey to get to this point in my life, but I cannot be happier with my decision to come out," he said. "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 to improve my chances for filling my dreams."
No active NHL player has come out as gay. Prokop said he hopes his example shows that gay people are welcome in the hockey community.
Don Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players' Association, said, "We know the NHL hockey community will support Luke as he strives toward his goal of playing in the NHL, and we applaud the example he is setting for those in the game of hockey and beyond."
This comes on the heels of Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib becoming the first active NFL player to come out in June.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman commended Prokop "for sharing his truth and for being so brave."
A 6-4, 218-pound defenseman, Prokop could be a part of Nashville's youth movement in the coming years.
Prokop is from Edmonton, Alberta. He played parts of the past four seasons with Calgary in the Western Hockey League. The Calgary Hitmen said in a statement, "Representation matters, and your courage will help so many others."