The Philadelphia Flyers took on the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday in a game that held a pregame celebration for the Flyers’ annual Pride Night. Flyers players wore Pride-themed jerseys and used warmup sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape for their pregame warmups, but one player chose not to participate.
Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov decided not to participate in pregame warmups, citing his Russian Orthodox religion as his reasoning for the decision when asked about the boycott after the game.
“I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices,” said Provorov, via Dan Gelston of the Associated Press. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”
— Dan Gelston (@APgelston) January 18, 2023
Flyers head coach John Tortorella discussed the situation following the game, detailing that the organization’s beliefs do not represent Proporov’s decision to sit out pregame warmups due to his religion.
“I think the organization has sent out a release regarding the beliefs that we have,” said Tortorella via Sam Carchidi of Philly Hockey Now. “It was really a great night. With Provy, he is being true to himself and to his religion. This has to do with his beliefs and his religion. That is one thing I respect about Provy, he is always true to himself, so that’s where we’re at with that.”
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 18, 2023
Tortorella was then asked whether or not he considered benching Provorov for the game due to his decision to boycott pregame activities, which led him to defend his player from the obvious criticism heading his way.
“I just think it’s unfair. I know you are probably going to talk to Provy. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it. I think it was a great night, and I’m not going to get too deep into the conversation.”
The organization’s statement that Tortorella referenced multiple times in his interview didn’t exactly mention Proporov’s decision, but rather offered their opinion on the pride night as a whole.
“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 out annual Pride Night again this year. The Flyers will continue to be strong advocates for inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community.”
Statement from Flyers after Ivan Provorov did not warm up on Pride Night. The team wrote Pride Night jerseys in warmups. pic.twitter.com/uXksfMgnSp
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) January 18, 2023