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Photo: Derek Leung via Getty Images

Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop made history as the first active NHL player to come out as gay on Monday.

What he's saying: "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," the 19-year-old Prokop wrote on Instagram.

  • "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."
  • "I hope that in sharing who I am I can help other people see that gay people are welcome in the hockey community, as we work to make sure that hockey is truly for everyone."

Why it matters: No NHL player, active or retired, has ever come out, according to ESPN.

Prokop, a defenseman from Edmonton, Alberta, told ESPN he struggled last season as a closeted player.

  • "I was lying in bed one night, had just deleted a dating app for the fourth or fifth time, and I was extremely frustrated because I couldn't be my true authentic self," Prokop said.
  • "In that moment I said, 'Enough is enough. I'm accepting who I am. I want to live the way I want to, and I want to accept myself as a gay man.'"

The big picture: His announcement follows similar moves by the NFL's Carl Nassib and U.S. National Women's Soccer League player Kumi Yokoyama earlier this year.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 12, 2021 - Sports

Jon Gruden out as Las Vegas Raiders head coach

Jon Gruden coaches a Las Vegas Raiders game against the Chicago Bears at Allegiant Stadium on Oct. 10 in Las Vegas. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jon Gruden announced Monday that he had resigned as Las Vegas Raiders head coach.

Why it matters: The New York Times reported earlier Monday that Gruden used homophobic and misogynistic language in emails over a roughly seven-year period that ended in 2018 before he joined the Raiders, in addition to racist remarks that emerged last week.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.