July 19, 2021 (New York, NY) — Athlete Ally responded today to news that National Hockey League (NHL) Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop has come out as gay in a powerful social media post. Prokop would be the first out gay NHL player.
“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,” Prokop wrote. “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.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman responded with support, writing, “On behalf of the National Hockey League, we are proud of Luke Prokop for today’s announcement and I would like to thank him for sharing his truth and for being so brave… We pledge to do everything possible to ensure that Luke’s experience is a welcoming and affirmative one.”
Athlete Ally Ambassador and former hockey player Brock McGillis also expressed his support for Prokop: “Getting to know Luke over the past month has shown me how special he is. Luke has worked his way to being a first round pick in the WHL and a 3rd round pick in the NHL while having the weight of his sexuality on his shoulders. The weights have now been removed! I’m proud of my friend, I’m proud to welcome him into the family, and I cannot wait to watch him soar.”
“By being his authentic self, Luke Prokop is paving the way for ice hockey to become more welcoming, safe and inclusive for LGBTQ+ players, coaches and fans,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “Most importantly, we hope it sparks change within hockey and sports as a whole to ensure that more LGBTQ+ athletes feel safe coming out, and know that their teammates, coaches, league and fans will support them. We send Luke our love and support.”