August 26, 2021
Sir Elton John Reaches Out with Phone Call to Gay Hockey Player
Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.
It didn't take long for out pop legend Elton John to reach across the waters and congratulate groundbreaking gay hockey player Luke Prokop; Sir John's call came through the day after Prokop came out, The Tennessean reports.
Prokop, who came out last month, was informed that he should "look out for a call from a French phone number" because the singer-songwriter "would be on the other end of the line," the newspaper recounted.
"I was like, 'Hold on, wait a second, is this for real?' " NHL.com quoted Prokop as saying.
Prokop, 19, had come out on social media with a heartfelt message in which he declared, "Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay."
During the transatlantic chat, John "congratulated me, just asked me how the day was, how the support was, and then he thanked me for being brave and coming out," Prokop recounted to NHL.com. "It was a really cool conversation."
As thrilling as the call was for the young hockey pro, it was more so for his mother. "I was like, 'Mom, you'll never guess who phoned me,' " Prokop told NHL.com. " 'Mom, that was Elton John.' She started screaming, like, 'What?' She almost started breaking down. She was probably more excited for me than I was for myself to get that call."
Prokop gave Sir Elton props for taking the time, saying it was "really cool" for "someone that big, that famous, who has a humungous impact on the LGBTQ+ community to reach out and phone me and thank me for being brave and coming out and being able to help kids going through what I went through and allowing them to have someone to look up to, in a sense," Prokop said. "He thanked me for that.
"I don't think I'll ever truly understand how cool that was and how important that was that he called me."
Another call of support came from "Brian Burke, the president of hockey operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins, whose son Brendan came out in 2009 before his 2010 death in a car accident," NHL.com noted, and there was also "a text message from Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews that was so stunning to Prokop that he dropped his phone."
The support shown by such high-profile people from within and outside the ranks of the hockey world is something Prokop said he's ready and willing to emulate, telling NHL.com that if "anyone has questions, I'm a very open person. I'll definitely get back to them, whether they just want to talk or they're going through something and they want another voice or they just want to be heard. I'm someone who takes pride in that.
"I just want to be able to provide a voice for people to feel comfortable," the newly-minted role model added.
Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.