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Luke Prokop, the pioneer who accepts his role

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Luke Prokop is “extremely proud” to have become a “pioneer of gay athletes”. The dream season he has just experienced, after his own come out last summer benefited greatly.

Posted at 6:00

Jean-Francois Teotonio

Jean-Francois Teotonio
The print

Prokop was traded earlier in the season to the Edmonton Oil Kings, his hometown youth team of the Western Hockey League (WHL). In 58 games, the defender scored 11 goals and 35 points in 2021-22.

Oh, and the Oil Kings won the WHL championship a few weeks ago. Thanks also to Prokop’s performance – 4 goals and 12 assists in 19 playoff games – on the ice.

“I don’t think I could have written this year’s script better,” explains Prokop in an interview with The print. The title, “was the icing on the cake”.

Luke Prokop is a potential 20-year-old Nashville Predators client. He is also the first openly gay hockey player to sign an NHL team.

He was just named Humanitarian Player of the Year in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). Prokop received the same honor last May at the WHL level.


PHOTOS FROM EDMONTON OILS KINGS WEBSITE

In 58 games this season, Luke Prokop has scored 11 goals and 35 points for the Edmonton Oil Kings, his hometown youth team.

Because obviously, when you first cross a barrier, the microphones and projectors are drawn like a butterfly to a light source. And that doesn’t bother Prokop too much. On the contrary.

“I did maybe fifty interviews on this topic this year,” Prokop said. […] The conversation must continue to unfold. “

Whenever I have the opportunity to talk about it, I take it. It is really important. It’s the only way we’ll see our sport evolve where we want it to go.

Luca Prokop

The print spoke to him last November when he announced a deal with the Kids Help Phone organization. She would pay $ 10 for each of her shots on the net during the season.

Beyond his goals and points, it is this initiative that he is most proud of.

The statistics are good. But I’ve always wanted to be recognized as much as possible for my impact on the ice.

Luca Prokop

He himself recorded more than 130 shots on target this year. With the support of the Predators and Oil Kings foundations, as well as friends and family, over $ 12,000 was donated to the telephone answering service.

“It is very special to see the success of this campaign and all the hard work my team and I put into creating it. It has great significance to me. ”

A memorable Pride Night

It was April 9th. The Oil Kings hosted a Pride game in Edmonton. When the idea for Pride Night was first introduced to Luke Prokop in January, he was thrilled.

“I was delighted to be able to allow the queer community to celebrate in an inclusive match for all,” he says. That they feel comfortable coming to see a hockey game. And to be able to represent them. It was amazing. ”

But keep another memory, even more motivating for the future.

Many of my teammates were really excited about this game. They said that maybe it wasn’t a championship match, or a gold medal match, but that it was the most important match they had ever been to, because there was real meaning behind it. . It was nice to hear them say that.

Luca Prokop

“They were also a little surprised by the reaction! And to see what a great thing it was. There were a lot of queer hockey fans. He showed them that there was a whole other section of the population to look for, in terms of supporters. Everyone was surprised and had a good time. ”

And the NHL?

Like any good hope, Luke Prokop hopes to force hands with the leaders of the Predators next season.

“This is the goal,” he said. I still have another potential year to play in the WHL. If Nashville feels I need more time to develop, I’ll make sure I make the decision to send myself to the American League as difficult as possible. ”

Junior Canadian hockey’s answer to his come out he was exemplary. He believes it will be the same in the NHL. Either way, when he first enters the NHL, he’ll have other things on his mind.

“I will not think about it on the basis that I will be the first openly gay hockey player in the NHL. The idea of ​​playing a game in the NHL has always been my childhood dream. ”

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