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Hitman star comes out as gay

There has never been an openly gay player to lace up in the NHL. Until Monday, there had never been an openly gay player in the WHL.

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A Calgary Hitman star who’s on the road to the NHL, has come out as gay.

Luke Prokop, 19, a third-round draft pick for the Nashville Predators, made the announcement on his Twitter page.

“Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay,” Prokop, a 6-ft. 4-in, 218 lb. defenceman, wrote.

“I am no longer afraid of who I am.

“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.

“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 truly is for everyone.”

Prokop message on Twitter

There has never been an openly gay player to lace up in the NHL. Carl Nassib, a defensive lineman with the Las Vegas Raiders, recently came out as the first openly gay player in the NFL. Until Monday, there had never been an openly gay player in the WHL.

“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,” Prokop wrote.

“I may be new to the community, but I am eager to learn about the strong and resilient people who came before me and paved the way so I could be more comfortable today.”

The Athletic reported over the last year, Prokop told the Predators he wanted to be open and honest about his sexuality and received their full support.

“Very brave young man,” Predators GM David Poile, who selected Prokop in the third round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, told The Athletic. He went on to sign his entry-level contract with the Preds on Dec. 9, 2020.

“It took a lot of courage. I’m proud that he did that. It’s got to be exciting for him to be taking this step.

“This is a big story and hopefully it helps and encourages others in similar situations. It’s a big deal.’’

Predators captain Roman Josi also extended his support to Prokop.

“Our message as a team [is that] we’re obviously very supportive of him,” Josi said.

“We just reached out and told him [we’ll help with] whatever he needs and that we’re proud of him. It’s a big step for him and we fully support him.”

Since being selected by the Hitmen with the seventh overall pick in the 2017 WHL Prospects Draft, Prokop has skated in 150 career WHL regular-season contests, representing Canada White at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and competing in the 2020 Kubota CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ont.

WHL Commissioner Ron Robison pledged the support of the WHL in a statement.

“The entire WHL community is proud of Luke for sharing his true self today,” said WHL Commissioner Ron Robison.

“We commend and recognize Luke for courageously standing as a role model for other young hockey players and people in the LGBTQ+ community, especially those within and close to the WHL. We wish Luke success this coming season and in his continued pursuit of playing in the NHL.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman shared his support for Prokop in a statement issued by the league.

“On behalf of the National Hockey League, we are proud of Luke Prokop for today’s announcement and I would like to thank him for sharing his truth and for being so brave,” Bettman said.

“I share his hope that these announcements can become more common in the hockey community. LGBTQ+ players, coaches, and staff can only perform at their absolute best if they live their lives as their full and true selves. We do not take the meaning and importance of this announcement lightly.

“We pledge to do everything possible to ensure that Luke’s experience is a welcoming and affirmative one and continue to work to ensure that any current or future NHL player contemplating following in his trailblazing footsteps knows our league is ready to provide full support.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Left Coast

    July 20, 2021 at 9:27 am

    “I want to take this opportunity to tell you all that I am a Normal straight Male.”
    Who goes through life self identifying with such a statement?

    I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your abode.
    Why do some have to announce their “Lifestyle” choices?

    A substantial % are molested as children . . . there has never been any “Science” to confirm anyone was born this way. Masters & Johnson concluded in the 80s that this was a “Learned Phenom” . . . I have personally known several people who have left the lifestyle, the latest being Milo Yiannopoulos.

    They are grooming our children in Public Schools . . . today!

    Here’s the end game . . .
    “In honor of Pride Month, the radicalized San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus released a song warning heterosexual parents, they are targeting and will “convert” their children.”
    In 2018, the song’s writers created the music for the highly contentious play, The Boy Who Danced On Air.
    As the left-wing New York Times admits in their review of the play, “The sexual content… in dances charmingly choreographed by Nejla Yatkin and in a few shirtless cuddles that suggest romance more than predation.”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/25/theater/boy-who-danced-on-air-review.html

    European Union is furious over a new Hungarian law that only allows “parents to decide on the sexual education of their children,” not schools. The leftists fighting to strip Hungarian mothers and fathers of their parental rights are drumming up support by falsely accusing the Hungarian government of adopting discriminatory, homophobic laws.

  2. Steven

    July 19, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    It’s all over the Main Stream Media also along with the Western Standard and I have to ask. Why is this news worthy – right across Canada? So what, really so what Western Standard who cares? Who really cares about his sexual orientation?

    It’s nice to learn Luke Prokop, 19, a third-round draft pick for the Nashville Predators & an Albertan boy is now playing in the NHL. That’s what I want to read. I could careless & looking at the comments below neither could the other commentators on his sexual orientation.

  3. Baron Not Baron

    July 19, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    Looking forward to the day when guys who stick their ding-dongs into the power outlets will come out as well..

  4. berta baby

    July 19, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    why is this news? what does he want a high five? you like guys good for you now fleck off

  5. j n

    July 19, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    who cares

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News

Massive, loud support displayed as BC’s truckers roll east

The convoy is approaching Alberta and will spend the night in Calgary before departing east on January 24 in conjunction with Alberta’s truckers.

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The eastbound “freedom convoy” rolling towards Ottawa in protest of vaccine mandates is well underway with hundreds coming out to support the truckers’ departure from BC’s Lower Mainland early Sunday morning.

The recent mandate — instituted by the federal Liberal government on January 15 — is forcing truckers crossing the border into Canada to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival using the ArriveCan app if they want to avoid testing and quarantine requirements.

American truckers will be denied entry.

Prior to the the January 15 mandate truckers were deemed an essential service.

Despite widespread concern of further economic devastation amid an already hurting supply chain, Liberal Health Minister Jean Yves-Duclos maintains his position that restricting cross-border movement of unvaccinated truckers is the “right thing to do.”

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) anticipates the loss of 12,000-16,000 (10-15%) cross-border commercial drivers as a result.

In border areas, drivers will often cross over five or six times a day.

“That’s a lot of loads in a year that no longer have a way of coming up,” Colin Valentim told the Western Standard.

Valentim — who has been a trucker for more than 20 years — spearheaded the group out of BC, which steadily grew in size throughout the day as truckers across the province joined the Ottawa-bound convoy.

The convoy is approaching Alberta and will spend the night in Calgary before departing east on January 24 in conjunction with Alberta’s truckers.

When the convoy arrives in Ottawa, it will rendezvous with four convoys from various points of Ontario, convoys from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, other Atlantic areas, and Quebec — forming a mass coalescence of rolling steel within the nation’s capital.

“We need to show this government what they’re doing is wrong and we won’t take it anymore,” said Valentim.

While the national demonstration is organized by big-riggers, those involved say it represents other professions that have been effected by mandatory injections such as healthcare workers, municipal workers and more. All professions and vehicles are welcome in the convoy.

The official GoFundMe page has received more than 37,400 separate donations adding up to more than $2.8 million with donations steadily flowing in by the minute.

The fund’s page — organized by Tamara Lich — says money raised will be dispersed to truckers for the cost of the journey and “any leftover donations will be donated to a credible veteran’s organization which will be chosen by the donors.”

The page says GoFundMe will be sending donations directly to “our bulk fuel supplier.”

“Your hard-earned money is going straight to who it was meant for without having to flow through anyone else,” reads the page.

The Western Standard reached out to Lich for further details regarding the allocation of donor’s funds, but has not heard back.

“Time to stop these mandates destroying people’s lives and businesses,” writes one donor.

“This tyranny must stop, and I believe the truckers are uniquely positioned to make this point,” writes another.

Maps, routes, times, and contact information for the respective organizers can be found here.

Reid Small is a BC-based reporter for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/reidsmall

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News

Judge slashes large defamation award to only $50,000

The judge ruled prairie courts are much more modest in awarding liberal damages.

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A Manitoba judge has slashed the $500,000 awarded to a defamation victim to $50,000, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The judge ruled prairie courts are much more modest in awarding liberal damages.

“Civil jury trials in Manitoba are rare,” wrote Justice William Burnett of the Manitoba Court of Appeal.

“Awards for defamation in that amount are virtually non-existent.”

“The jury’s award of $500,000 is wholly disproportionate and shockingly unreasonable,” wrote Burnett, who worked 32 years as a civil litigator.

“This was not a case of widespread or repeated publication of defamatory statements in print media, radio, television or on the Internet.”

Millionaire developer Marcel Chartier in 2021 won his defamation claim against a former business partner who badmouthed him at a lunch meeting. The court was told Chartier’s ex-partner had called him a thief.

“There was no further publication of the defamatory comments,” wrote Burnett.

The slander was uttered to two people over a lunch table, “a small audience by any measure,” and “the impact of the comments was negligible,” the court added.

“The jury’s award of $500,000 is replaced with an award of $50,000,” ordered the court, noting there “is no mathematical formula” to placing value on damages for defamation.

Burnett said he reviewed dozens of rulings in Western courts, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia over the past six years in concluding the half-million award was excessive.

“Having considered more than 50 recent decisions where damages were awarded for reputational harm it is readily apparent the present award is well beyond the maximum limit of a reasonable range,” wrote Burnett.

Large libel awards are uncommon in Canada. The Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench last December 15 ordered the CBC to pay $1,659,403 for defaming a local investment adviser in a 2012 television broadcast.

The case is under appeal.

The largest award to date, $3 million, was paid in 2008 to an Ottawa pilot falsely accused of impairment.

The Supreme Court in 1995 upheld a $1.6 million award to a Toronto Crown prosecutor defamed by the Church of Scientology.

In 2016, the British Columbia Supreme Court awarded $1.1 million in damages to a Vancouver businessman falsely accused of being a drug trafficker.

The Supreme Court in 2002 refused to hear an appeal from the CBC over a $950,000 award to an Ottawa physician falsely accused of improper conduct by the news program The Fifth Estate.

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Sask residents say vaccine choices dividing families

“It’s putting these parents in a really horrible situation,” said Ness. “It’s not selfishness. They truly believe to their core that it’s not the right decision for them. It’s not that they don’t want their children.”

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For personal and legal reasons, vaccine choices are dividing families, say two Saskatchewan residents.

Michael Jackson, a divorced father from the rural community of Carievale in southeastern Saskatchewan, was opposed to his seven-year-old daughter Sarah receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.

When his ex-wife said Sarah would get the vaccine, he refused to return her. Jackson’s ex-wife applied for a court order for police to retrieve Sarah and a judge heard the case in court.

Jackson lost his case and failed in a subsequent appeal. He went into hiding with his daughter before police could enforce the court order.

Two cases in Quebec suggest judges in other provinces take a similar view. Last fall, a 13-year-old boy wanted the vaccine so he could be in school sports and go to movies and restaurants, but his father was opposed. Then his wife, the mother of the boy, went to court and had the father’s objections overruled.

A similar ruling was made by a Lethbridge judge.

Nadine Ness, founder of Unified Grassroots, says a Lloydminster father who got their under-12 child vaccinated for COVID-19 showed her that proper checks aren’t always made. 

“He messaged me, ‘Look, I’m pro-vaccine. But I think you should know this,’” Ness recalled in an interview.

“He was never asked any documentation as to who he was, how connected he was to that child, nothing. He was just asked for the kids’ health card, and that was it, nothing else. So if that’s happening, then parents who have full decision authority over their children’s health, like the other parent can go and do whatever they want because they’re not asking for ID either. That was a story that I found really odd and concerning.

At other times, parents are at odds. Shortly before Christmas, a Quebec judge denied an unvaccinated father visitation rights to his double-vaccinated 12-year-old child. Ness said knows of instances where parents are using the threat of vaccinating children for COVID-19 as a bargaining chip to extract more from the parent who is opposed.

“I grew up in a divorced family with an absent mother. She was a drug addict, so I know what it’s like to grow without a parent there. And I know how important it is for both parents to be involved in children’s lives. I’m divorced myself, so I share custody of my kids,” Ness said.

“I could never imagine anyone trying to keep their kids away from the other parent, but it’s just you see that too often in custody issues…If you’re using your child to go after the other parent, you’re not doing what’s in your child’s best interest.”

Ness said former allowances for the unvaccinated to cross the U.S. border to see their non-adult children have been taken away.

“At this point, policies like that just show more that this is not about health. And this is about punishing the people who oppose government, punishing political opposition,” Ness said.

“Omicron is so mild. We had it all in our house and I was sick for a day and a half…It was the mildest cold I’ve ever had. My son was sick and had fever for six hours. That was it, nothing else. He’s seven. My 12-year-old never got symptoms, and my two-year-old had a bit of a runny nose.”

Ness believes COVID-19 is an inadequate reason for politicians, judges, and families to separate unvaccinated family members from their children or other relatives.

“It’s putting these parents in a really horrible situation…Some of these parents, it’s not selfishness. They truly believe to their core that it’s not the right decision for them. It’s not that they don’t want their children or don’t want to see their children,” Ness said.

“These are real people, real lives affected. They’re not just robots. It’s dehumanizing them and not recognizing them. These are children who go to bed at night crying because they don’t have their other parent there, their family member there. 

“They don’t deserve this; they deserve better from us. And we deserve better from our government as well.”

Lee Harding is a contributor to the Western Standard living in Saskatchewan.

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