On Monday, Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop became the first active player under NHL contract to come out as gay.

Prokop announced on Instagram and Twitter. “While the past year has been crazy, it has also given me the chance to find my true self,” Prokop said. “I am no longer scared to hide who I am. Today I’m proud to publicly tell everyone I am gay.”

“It has been quite the journey to get to this point in my life, but I could not be happier with my decision to come out,” Prokop wrote. “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.”

The predators immediately showed support for the defenseman. “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,” the team wrote on Twitter.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman showed solidarity as well. “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 for being so brave.”

“I share his hope that these announcements can become more common in the hockey community,” Bettman said. “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.”

NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr also released a statement supporting Prokop.

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