Manchester Storm ice hockey player Zach Sullivan has come out as bisexual, sharing the news in a statement on social media alongside a photo of himself and a teammate wearing Pride jerseys.
While he is believed to be the first Elite Ice Hockey League player to come out a a member of the LGBTIQ+ community, he follows in the footsteps of professional players including Jon-Lee Olsen (Denmark) and Janne Puhakka (Finland), each of whom came out as gay last year.
“With this being the first ever EIHL #PrideWeekend I feel now is the best time to speak about what I have known for many years,” Sullivan wrote.
“I have battled with mental health problems over this issue and with the support, understanding, and acceptance from my family, friends, and teammates, I finally feel ready to say; I’m bisexual."
Sullivan added: "I have never been more proud to wear a jersey before, especially one that celebrates all gender identities and sexualities.”
Speaking to the BBC, Sullivan said that he wasn't looking for publicity.
"I've always been a very private guy, but I realise that I have a unique opportunity to do some good," he said.
"If I can be open and honest about my sexuality, then hopefully that will give other hockey players around the country the same confidence to do the same."
Sullivan said that he was met with pride and acceptance by his Manchester teammates.
“We are all extremely proud of you, Zach!” the Manchester Storm account tweeted.
“You’re a role model for so many people, young and old, in the sporting world. Someone knowing they can be themselves is a true testament to everything our club and sport stand for.”