Predators prospect Luke Prokop comes out as gay

"I am no longer scared to hide who I am"

An NHL prospect appears to have made hockey history in revealing he is gay.

Nashville Predators minor leaguer Luke Prokop is reportedly the first known player under contract with an NHL team to come out. The 19-year-old defenseman made the announcement on social media on Monday morning.

"While the past year and a half has been crazy," said the 2020 third-round draft pick, "it has also given me the opportunity 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."

In a statement, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he welcomed the news and was proud of Prokop for living his truth.

Prokop's announcement comes only weeks after Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib became the first openly gay active NFL player.

Prokop, a native of Canada, was selected 73rd overall by the Predators in the 2020 NHL Draft, which was postponed from its usual spot in late June until October because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He later signed a three-year, entry-level contract, and played 15 games this season with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League.

In an interview with The Athletic, Prokop opens up about coming out to family, friends, and some of his teammates, and says he has been encouraged by all the support he's received.

"This is the best I've ever felt in the summer, and I think a large part of that is due to this process of me coming out," he told the outlet.

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