The Philadelphia Flyers held Pride Night on Tuesday ahead of their home game against the Anaheim Ducks, with the players wearing warmup jerseys that featured their names and uniform numbers in rainbow colors and sticks wrapped in rainbow tape.
Defenseman Ivan Provorov was absent from the warmup, though, and he later acknowledged that he refused to wear the rainbow-themed top for religious reasons.
Provorov, who is Russian Orthodox, said, “I respect everyone. I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”
Flyers coach John Tortorella backed Provorov’s decision.
“He’s being true to himself and his religion. This has to do with his beliefs and his religion,” Tortorella said. “It’s one thing I respect about (Provorov), he’s always true to himself.”
Provorov played in the game, with the Flyers wearing their standard uniforms, and he logged a game-high 22:45 of ice time.
The Flyers issued a statement after news broke of Provorov opting out of the warmup: “The Philadelphia Flyers organization is committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the LGBTQ+ community. Many of our players are active in their support of local LGBTQ+ organizations, and we were proud to host our annual Pride Night again this year. The Flyers will continue to be strong advocates for inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community.”
The rainbow-themed jerseys and sticks will be auctioned off by Flyers Charities with the money earmarked to “grow the game of hockey in diverse communities.”
The club also hosted a pregame skate for LGBTQ+ youth and officers from the Greater Philadelphia Gay Officers Action League (GOAL). Flyers forwards James van Riemsdyk and Scott Laughton met with the attendees.
Provorov has 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) in 45 games this season. He has spent all seven seasons of his career with the Flyers, recording 61 goals and 144 assists in 495 career games.
–Field Level Media