A post shared by Luke Prokop (@lukeprokop_)There’s a long-held belief in sports that having an openly LGBTQ player will disrupt a team’s cohesion and create a nuisance in the locker room.
It’s been exactly one year since hockey player Luke Prokop, 20, came out as gay, so how’s that going for him?In a sign of how far attitudes have shifted (there’s still a long way to go, of course), it’s going pretty damn well!Since he made the announcement on social media on July 19, 2021 and became the first openly gay active or retired player under NHL contract, Prokop has become an inspiration to other queer athletes the world over.Related: Meet Justine Lindsay, the NFL’s first openly trans cheerleaderHe’s also had an overwhelmingly positive effect on his Edmonton Oil Kings teammates, who recently went on record with NHL.com about what it’s like having a gay player in the locker room.“Luke inspired a lot of guys on the team,” forward Josh Williams said. “Seeing how vulnerable he was at the start to seeing him be his true self.
To see him do that, it’s super brave. In the room, we treated him like any other player: He’s part of our family, he’s one of our brothers.”Fellow forward Jalen Luypen expanded on Prokop’s influence: “We changed our mentality as a group and protected Luke at all costs.“We just kind of fell in love with him.
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