Philadelphia Flyers' Ivan Provorov Boycotts Team's Pride Night
Flyers' Ivan Provorov Boycotts Team's Pride Night
1/18/2023 6:34 AM PT
8:24 AM PT -- The NHL just released a statement on the matter, and didn't condemn Ivan Provorov's actions -- instead, the org. said, "Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues."
Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov refused to show up for his team's warmups on Tuesday night ... boycotting Philadelphia's decision to have its players wear rainbow-colored jerseys that supported the LGBTQ+ community.
Provorov, who ultimately ended up playing in the game after the Flyers switched back to their normal uniforms, said after the contest he made the decision due to his Russian Orthodox beliefs.
"I respect everybody and I respect everybody's choices," the 26-year-old said. "My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That's all I'm going to say."
Reporters attempted to ask Provorov further questions about the decision ... but he shut them down, saying, "Did you not hear what I just said? Can you respect that?"
Flyers head coach John Tortorella, meanwhile, seemed to back his player's choice ... telling media members after the game he never once considered not playing Provorov, despite the pregame protest.
"It's one thing I respect about Provy," the 64-year-old manager said. "He's always true to himself. And, so, that's where we're at with that."
The Flyers opted to wear the pregame kits -- as well as wrap their sticks with rainbow-colored tape -- in order to promote inclusivity in a sport that's historically struggled with diversity. Philly auctioned off its players' pregame items after the game, donating proceeds to groups who are helping grow hockey in diverse communities. Provorov was the only Flyer who didn't have memorabilia up in the auction.
Hockey Is For Everyone. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜#ANAvsPHI | #FueledByPhilly pic.twitter.com/oIyJ6dV1Ae— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) January 17, 2023 @NHLFlyers
The team spoke generically about the issue in a statement just before the game ... saying, "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."
If you can play, you can play.— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) January 17, 2023 @NHLFlyers
#️⃣: #HockeyIsForEveryone#ANAvsPHI | #FueledByPhilly pic.twitter.com/24gOlxHNqL
The NHL has yet to comment on it all.
Provorov ended up playing a team-high 22:45 minutes in the game against the Ducks, which Philadelphia won, 5-2.
Originally Published -- 6:34 AM PT