NHL prospect Luke Prokop has opened up about his groundbreaking coming out journey in a new interview.
Earlier this year, the 19-year-old hockey player made history as the first NHL player to come out as gay.
Taking to Instagram, the young talent shared the monumental news via a heartfelt statement.
“While the past year and a half has been crazy, it has also given me the chance to find my true self. I am no longer scared to hide who I am. Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay,” he said.
“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.”
Four months later, Prokop is giving insight into his coming out journey in the new five-part limited series Breaking Ice.
At the start of the special, the NHL prospect revealed that he started to question his identity during his early teen years.
“It would have been around 14-years-old and that’s when I started questioning what my sexuality might be,” he explained.
“I didn’t really start telling people until three years later. So I was kind of having those thoughts for three years of who I might be or what I might want to do with my life if I do come out.”
The stress of his family potentially not accepting him ended up pushing Prokop to make a backup plan if they reacted negatively to his news.
“I had a plan in my mind if no one accepted me like what I was going to do. I had envisioned myself somewhere in the United States and with my partner,” he explained.
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“I wasn’t playing any sports, without my family or my friends in it, which I think was one of my darkest moments that I had held on to for you know a couple of years.”
Prokop went on to say that due to naturally being an open book, hiding his sexuality affected his mental health and sportsmanship.
Elsewhere in the interview, the Edmonton native revealed that his sister was the first person he came out to.
“I knew she would take it really well. I think that’s important to have the first person I tell… it made me more confident,” he said.
After coming out to his sister, Prokop informed his coaches and family – which led to a “game plan” being created for his public announcement.
Since that fateful day, the player has received praise from hockey fans and the Nashville Predators – which he’s currently a prospect for.
“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,” they said.
Even pop icon Elton John showcased his support for Prokop during a surprise phone call.
“He [called and] congratulated me, just asked me how the day was, how the support was, and then he thanked me for being brave and coming out. It was a really cool conversation,” he said.
“I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand how cool that was and how important that was that he called me.”
Check out the full episode below or by clicking here.