Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov cites religion for boycott on Pride night

PHILADELPHIA– Flyers defender Ivan Provorov cited his Russian Orthodox religion as a reason why he did not participate in pre-game warm-ups when the team wore Pride jerseys and used warm-up sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape.

Provorov, 26, did not go ice skating with his teammates before Tuesday night’s game against Anaheim, as the Flyers celebrated their annual Pride night to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community. He played nearly 23 minutes in Philadelphia’s 5-2 win.

“I respect everyone’s decisions,” Provorov said after the game. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Provorov declined to answer follow-up questions about his decision.

The jerseys and sticks were to be auctioned off by the Flyers after the game, with proceeds going to the team’s charity and efforts to promote the game of hockey in various communities.

The Flyers also hosted a pregame skate for local LGBTQ+ youth. Flyers players James van Riemsdyk and Scott Laughton are staunch supporters of the community and have created a program to support local LGBTQ+ youth in the Philadelphia area.

Flyers coach John Tortorella said Provorov was “true to himself and to his religion.”

“It’s one thing I respect about Provy, he’s always true to himself,” Tortorella said.

All-Star forward Kevin Hayes, who had a hat-trick in the Anaheim win, said “it’s not my place to answer” when asked how he felt about Provorov’s decision.

The Wells Fargo Center was decked out in rainbow colors Tuesday night representing the LGBTQ+ community through special rainbow-themed arena LEDs, decorations and team merchandise.

“The Philadelphia Flyers organization is committed to inclusion and proud to support the LGBTQ+ community,” the team said in a statement after the game. “Many of our players actively support 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.”

Copyright © 2023 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov cites religion for boycott on Pride night

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