Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov did not participate in warmups on Tuesday night, one in which Flyers donned rainbow-themed sweaters in honor of the team’s Pride Night ahead of an eventual 5-2 win over the Ducks.
The Flyers changed into their standard orange-and-black sweaters after the warmups and Provorov did play in the actual game.
“I respect everybody, and I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov told reporters after the game. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m gonna say.”
Provorov then identified himself as Russian Orthodox and later shut down a question as to whether he was concerned his skipping warmups would lead to him not playing in the game.
“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,” the NHL said. “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.”
Flyers head coach John Tortorella addressed the situation postgame as well, saying he respects Provorov for being “true to himself.”
“I think the organization has sent out a release regarding the organization, the beliefs that we have, and how we feel about it, on a really great night. With Provy, he’s being true to himself and to his religion. This has to do with his belief and his religion. That’s one thing I respect about Provy — he’s always true to himself. So that’s where we’re at with that.”
Tortorella added that he did not consider scratching Provorov despite the player’s choice to miss warmups over the jersey and that Tuesday was “a great night in celebrating.”
The NHL has not spoken publicly about the matter yet, but here is the Flyers’ statement Tortorella mentioned: