Luke Prokop, a prospect for the
Nashville Predators, came out as gay on Monday in an Instagram post,
making him the National Hockey League's (NHL) first openly gay
“Today I am proud to publicly tell
everyone that I am gay,” Prokop, 19, said in the post.
Prokop, who is from Edmonton, Canada,
played four seasons with the Western Hockey League before the
Predators selected him in last year's NHL Draft.
“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 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 and improve my chances of
fulfilling my dreams.”
Prokop said that his family, friends,
and agents were aware of his sexuality and met him “with love and
support every step of the way.”
“This is just the beginning of my
journey and I am excited to see where it takes me, both in hockey and
in life,” he concluded.
In a tweet, the team congratulated
“The Nashville Predators organization
is proud of Luke for the courage he is displaying in coming out today
and we will support him unequivocally in the days, weeks, and years
to come as he continues to develop as a prospect,” the team said.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman also
“I want to thank him for sharing his
truth and being so brave,” Bettman said in a statement.