Luke Prokop is a 6-foot-4, 218-pound defenceman from Edmonton, Alberta. He was recently drafted in the third round by the Nashville Predators (2020 NHL Draft). Shorty after he was drafted, he signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Predators, while he was playing his final season for the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL.
On July 19, 2021 Luke decided it was time he let the world know of his true sexuality. He decided to make the announcement in an Instagram post which ended up getting over 120,000 likes and over 5,000 comments. The hockey community as well as the Nashville Predators accepted Luke with open arms and applauded his courage to come out publicly. Luke said “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.”
Sport, especially men’s sport, has not always been the most welcoming to gay athletes. There have been many movements trying to change the hypermasculinity and homophobia seen in sport. Luke marked a major milestone in the game of hockey by coming out. The fact that there have been no openly gay NHL players to do so, past or present, speaks for itself. Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL said “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 absolute best if they live their lives as their full and true selves. We do not take the meaning and importance of this announcement lightly.” Below is Luke’s Instagram post, as well as an interview he gave after he publicly came out.