The event that shocked the NHL
Recently, the trend is towards open admission of LGBTQ + athletes, however, the level of admission may vary depending on factors such as the age of the athlete, his country of origin. As a result of homophobia, there have been significant lawsuits against this discrimination in the sports community.
While the NHL waits for expansion and junior drafts, another outstanding event has taken place. Nashville player Luke Prokop came out.
He is supported by his close people and colleagues. With his coming out, he hopes to encourage more people and open up.
How did the career of Luke Prokop develop?
He began his hockey career in the 2017/18 season in the Western Hockey League, where he played until the end of October 2021. During this time, he was given a 3-year contract as a freshman with Nashville Predators in December 2020. He has been playing for the junior team Edmonton Oil Kings from the WHL since October 2021. In July 2021, an athlete came out as homosexual.
“He is a large, big player. He is good at transitioning from defense to attack and off the puck. He also has excellent skating, despite his size, he glides over the ice very smoothly. Luke rarely allows gaps in the middle zone, and in his possessions, he looks great in positional defense, “- this is how Prokop’s strengths were described in one of the pre-draft reports.
Why is his case unique?
Luke’s coming out was not the first one among the high-level sport. The most outstanding figure therein was Brock McGillis, a former Ontario Junior League goaltender. However, the Canadian made this confession already in 2016, when he ended an unsuccessful career a long time ago. In 2019, Danish goaltender Jon Lee-Olsen also came out, while being an active league player.
But Prokop’s case is interesting since it is the first time in NHL history that a hockey player has publicly disclosed his homosexuality.
NHL reaction to Prokop’s act
Once opened, Luke gained widespread tolerance from everyone in the hockey industry. One of the first to respond to Prokop’s coming-out was Gary Bettman. In his comment, he thanked Luke for his courage and fortitude to share his truth.
On social networks, other NHL clubs also supported the player. Montreal, Boston, Colorado, Vegas, Toronto, and a number of other teams in the league are proud of the courage of the young defender.
Many well-known figures in the field of hockey expressed their admiration for Prokop in their personal accounts: Auston Matthews, James van Riemsdyk, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Nick Foligno, Tyson Barry.
It is worth noting that after his message, support for him and the entire GSRM community comes not only in words. For example, the NHL organized a donation program that implied the special payments up to $100,000 to Canadian LGBTQ+ establishments that collaborated with Luke.
This is how the NHL celebrates the arrival of the first openly gay man, but it will be very interesting to see how this hockey player actually adapts to what is still the most male sport. We would like to believe that if Prokop breaks through and plays in the NHL, then this will happen thanks to his skill, and not just because of non-standard orientation.
It is also worth mentioning that such a statement was supported by the New York City Gay Hockey Association. It is an LGBTQ+ sports league based in New York City. It was the first organization of its kind in New York. She is the organizer and sponsor of various events related to hockey. Her goal is to raise awareness of hockey in New York, develop gay sports, and raise public awareness of gay health issues.