PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov didn’t participate in the pregame skate on Tuesday night because he wouldn’t wear the team's LGBTQ+ Pride Night warmup jersey.
The 26-year-old defenseman told reporters after the Flyers' 5-2 home win over the Anaheim Ducks that it was his choice to stay true to himself and his religion, which he revealed to be Russian Orthodox.
“It flies against the stated values of the organization, not only in the organization itself having a Pride Night and the kinds of promotional activities they have around it, but their work year round,” stated Rachel Donner, co-host of Locked on Flyers.
Donner and co-host Russ Cohen argued the fact there were no immediate repercussions sends the wrong message to players and fans.
Flyers coach John Tortorella said he didn't contemplate scratching Provorov for not taking warmups. In fact, he supported Provorov.
"With Provy, he's being true to himself and to his religion," the first-year Flyers coach said. "This has to do with his belief and his religion. It's one thing I respect about Provy: He's always true to himself. That's where we're at with that."
The Flyers, for their part, released this statement.
"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 Flyers’ mascot, for the record, seemed all in on Pride Night.
The league’s Hockey is for Everyone campaign aims “to use the game of hockey - and the League's global influence - to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities.”
The NHL released a statement on the matter on Wednesday, saying players are free to decide which initiatives to support.
"Hockey is for Everyone is the umbrella initiative under which the League encourages Clubs to celebrate the diversity that exists in their respective markets, and to work to achieve more welcoming and inclusive environments for all fans. Clubs decide whom to celebrate, when and how -- with League counsel and support. Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues."