Sharks

Sharks 'proud' of gay NHL prospect Prokup: 'Game truly is for everyone'

Sharks
Getty Images

Luke Prokop made some history on Monday, as the 2020 Nashville Predators third-round draft pick announced on social media that he is gay.

The Sharks were among a number of NHL teams to share their support for Prokop, saying in a tweet that the organization is "proud of" and supports the 19-year-old defenseman.

"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," Prokop's statement read.

Prokop's announcement comes weeks after Carl Nassib of the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders became the first active player in the league to announce he is gay.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement after Prokop's announcement, thanking him for "sharing his truth and for being so brave."

Sharks forward Kurtis Gabriel, who has been one of the league's most outspoken advocates on LGBTQ+ representation in the NHL, sent multiple messages of support to Prokop following the announcement.

Former Sharks center Tommy Wingels reacted to Prokop's announcement in a text message to NBC Sports California.

"I think having these athletes come out is monumental," Wingels said. "I think there will be a domino effect and hopefully many more will now feel comfortable being themselves, living openly within the sport they love. Sports have done a good job laying the groundwork, putting bricks down, but until a number of athletes felt comfortable coming out, that next step could never be reached. This will have a massive effect across pro sports, but more importantly, help the younger generation of athletes. That’s where the biggest impact will be felt I think.  We re moving in the right direction and as they say, hopefully these will no longer be stories in the future. Obviously a long way to go, but these two athletes [referring to Raiders' Carl Nassib and Prokop] have made monumental decisions that will have unquantifiable impact on our younger and future generations."

 

Prokop currently plays for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, the same organization current Sharks goalie Martin Jones once competed for.