NHL star Luke Prokop becomes league's first openly gay player to improve chances of ‘fulfilling my dreams’
ICE hockey star Luke Prokop has become the NHL's first openly gay player as he is 'no longer scared to hide who I am'.
The Nsshville Predators defenceman, 19, believes publicly coming out will "improve my chances of fulfilling my dreams".
And the Canadian, who has yet to make his senior debut, adds he could not be prouder or happier with his decision after a "crazy" 18 months.
Predators' officials and management vowed to support Prokop "unequivocally" all the way.
And he posted: "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.
"Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay."
"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.
"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."
Prokop, who was Nasvhille's third-round draft pick in 2020, hopes other homosexual players will now feel comfortable coming out, encouraged by his public statement.
He said: "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.
"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 comfortable today.
"This is just the beginning of my journey and I am excited to see where it takes me, both in hockey and life."
Predators' president/chief executive Sean Henry said the club were "proud" of Prokop and would "support him unequivocally in the days, weeks, and years to come".
And their president of hockey operations/general manager David Poile added: "We understand his ability to be out comfortably will help him achieve his goals on and off the ice.
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"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."
Prokop's announcement follows Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib last month becoming the first current NFL player to come out as gay.
Ex-Leeds, LA Galaxy and 18-cap USA winger Robbie Rogers was the first openly gay player across America's big five sports leagues, coming out eight years ago.
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