Predators’ Prokop first player under NHL contract to come out as gay

Plus: What to look for during tonight’s Expansion Draft on ESPN2

Prokop Makes NHL History

What’s Happening: On July 19, Luke Prokop made history as the first player under contract with an NHL team to come out as gay. In his announcement on social media, he stated, “I am no longer scared to hide who I am. Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.” As for why he made the announcement, he went on to say, “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.” In fact, he’s said, “I think it’s been translating a lot into my summer and my summer training. I’ve noticed myself being a lot more confident on the ice.”

Outpouring of Support: Numerous people in the hockey community have stepped out to express their support. NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, stated, “We pledge to do everything possible to ensure that Luke’s experience is a welcoming and affirmative one and continue to work to ensure that any current or future NHL player contemplating following in his trailblazing footsteps knows our league is ready to provide full support.”

Nashville Predators’ General Manager, David Poile, echoed this sentiment: “Luke is a valued prospect of the Nashville Predators and we think he has a bright future. We want Luke to become a successful hockey player, and we understand his ability to be out comfortably will help him achieve his goals on and off the ice. We are committed to ensuring nothing stands in the way of his ability. His courage is an inspiration to us, and to the LGBTQ community in Nashville.”

Other parties who’ve expressed their support include: Roman Josi, Mark Borowiecki, and Matt Duchene of the Predators; Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs; and numerous other players, teams, and members of the media.

Prokop the Player: Prokop has played the past four seasons for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. During his tenure, he has 7 Goals and 34 Assists for 41 Points in 150 Games. Last year, he was drafted by the Predators in the Third Round at 73rd overall and signed a three-year entry-level deal in December.

He is a native of Edmonton, Alberta, and tries to model his game after his favorite player, Shea Weber.

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