Luke Prokop makes history as first openly gay CHL player – CHL


Luke Prokop made history Monday morning, becoming the first Western Hockey League player to publicly declare himself gay.

The surge of support was instantaneous and widespread for the Calgary Hitmen defender, who appeared in a social media post.

“Hi everyone. Although the last year and a half has been crazy, it also gave me the chance to find my real me. I’m no longer afraid to hide who I am.

“Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.

“It has been quite a journey to get to this point in my life, but I couldn’t 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 fully develop myself on the ice and improve my chances of achieving my dreams.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this without my amazing family, friends and agents – who knew this about me and met me with love and support every step of the way. I hope that by sharing who I am I can help others see that gays are welcome in the hockey community as we work to make sure that hockey is truly for everyone.

“I may be new to the community, but I can’t wait to learn more about the strong and resilient people who came before me and led the way so that I can be more comfortable today. This is just the start of my journey and I’m excited to see where it takes me, both in hockey and in life.

“Thank you!”

Not only is Prokop the first player in WHL history to declare himself gay, he is also the first active player in the Canadian Hockey League to declare himself gay. He is also the first player under contract with an NHL team to announce that he is gay.

WHL Commissioner Ron Robison pledged WHL’s support in a statement.

“The entire WHL community is proud of Luke for sharing his true personality today,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “We congratulate and recognize Luke for courageously being a role model for other young hockey players and people in the LGBTQ + community, especially those within and close to the WHL. We wish Luke success this coming season and in his continued pursuit of playing in the NHL. “

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman expressed his support for Prokop in a statement released by the league.

“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 being so brave,” said Bettman.

“I share his hope that these announcements can become more common in the hockey community. LGBTQ + players, coaches and staff can only perform at their best if they live their lives to the fullest. We do not take the meaning and importance of this announcement lightly.

“We are committed to doing everything possible to make Luke’s experience welcoming and positive, and we continue to work to ensure that any current or future NHL player who plans to follow in his forward-thinking footsteps knows that our League is ready to provide full support.

Prokop, a 19-year-old defenseman from Edmonton, Alta., Was selected in the third round (73rd overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators. He then signed his entry-level contract with the Preds on December 9, 2020.

“Luke is a valued Nashville Predators prospect and we believe he has a bright future,” said David Poile, president of hockey operations and general manager of the Predators. “We want Luke to be a successful hockey player, and we understand that his ability to come out comfortably will help him achieve his goals on and off the ice. We are committed to ensuring that nothing stands in the way of its capabilities. Her courage is an inspiration to us and to the LGBTQ community of Nashville. “

Predators captain Roman Josi also lent his support to Prokop.

“Our message as a team [is that] we obviously support him a lot, ”said Josi. “We just reached out and said to her [we’ll help with] everything he needs and that we are proud of him. This is a big step for him and we fully support him.

Since being selected by the Hitmen with the seventh overall pick in the 2017 WHL Prospects Draft, Prokop has made an impact on the ice, appearing in 150 career WHL regular season games, including representing Canada Blanc at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and competing in the 2020 Kubota CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ont.

Now, the 6-foot-4, 218-pound blueliner will have an unforgettable impact off the ice, serving as a pioneer for hockey players and LGBTQ + athletes in Western Canada, the Pacific Northwest of the United States. and the rest of the world.

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