The Nashville Predators have been making a lot of noise in the NHL here recently, as they’ve been one of the top teams in professional hockey over the past few years. A couple division championships, a run to the Stanley Cup, a loyal (sometimes annoying as fuck) fanbase… the Preds seem to always be in the hockey conversation.
Now, they’re making headlines once again, but in a much different way.
One of the Predators’ biggest prospects, 19-year-old Canadian defenseman Luke Prokop, has announced that he’s gay.
The Edmonton, Alberta native announced the news on Instagram, and the news makes him the first contracted-NHL player to come out:
According to ESPN, Prokop began coming out to his family this past year, and told the Predators’ organization that he was gay in June.
The first person in the organization who he came out to was assistant general manager Brian Poile. He had this to say in an interview about the exchange:
“He in that moment showed me a lot of support and told me the Predators are behind me 1,000% and want what’s best for me and that they’re proud of me during this.
I remember getting off that phone call and tears just started coming from my eyes, I was so excited. And in that moment, I thought, this is what it’s going to feel like for the rest of my life.
For them to show that support that they did in that moment, it felt like I can rule the world.”
The Predators also released a statement:
“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.
A long stated goal in our organization is equality for all, including the LGBTQ community, and it is important that Luke feels comfortable and part of an inclusive environment as he moves forward in his career.”
This news comes shortly after NFL defensive end Carl Nassib announced he’s gay, also the first active NFL player to come out.