Nashville Predators Prospect Luke Prokop Announces He's Gay

Nashville Predators draft pick Luke Prokop -- selected in the third round of the 2020 Draft -- announced Monday that's he's gay and said in a statement that he's "no longer scared to hide who I am." If the 19-year-old Prokop were to make the Predators roster, he would be the first openly gay player in NHL history.

The 6-foot-5, 221-pound defenseman from Edmonton, Alberta spent the 2020-21 season playing for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League where he had six points in 15 games. The Predators released a statement Monday supporting Prokop and Gary Bettman said the league would "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."

"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.

"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," Prokop said in his statement.

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Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America. Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league. Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.