Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov has made his stance on the LGBTQ community known.
Provorov didn’t participate in warm-ups ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks because he refused to wear the team-issued Pride Night jerseys. The Flyers were hosting their annual pride night at Wells Fargo Center in support of the LGBTQ community.
Provorov was the only player from either team who didn’t skate in warm-ups Tuesday. The rest of the Flyers team all took the ice wearing Pride-themed jerseys and using sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape.
If you can play, you can play.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) January 17, 2023
While Provorov didn’t participate in the pre-game routine, he did still play in the game. The Flyers wore their standard orange home jerseys for the actual game — the gay Pride jerseys were only for warmups.
The Russian blueliner logged 20:53 of ice time as the Flyers cruised to a 5-2 victory over the Ducks. After the game, all the talk was about Provorov’s controversial pre-game decision.
Provorov spoke briefly after the game about why he refused to wear the Pride Night jersey. Provovov cited his religion as the reason he didn’t wear the Pride Night jersey in support of the LGBTQ community.
“I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices”, Provorov said. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”
Ivan Provorov Post-Game Interview
— Dan Gelston (@APgelston) January 18, 2023
Provorov’s religion is the Russian Orthodox, which has strong anti-gay beliefs.
Flyers coach John Tortorella also fielded questions from reporters regarding’s Provorov decision to refuse to wear the Pride jersey. Tortorella backed his defenseman, saying Provorov is entitled to his beliefs. He also said there wasn’t a decision to bench Provorov for the game.
“With Provy, he’s being true to himself and his origin,” Tortorella said. “It has to do with his belief and his religion. It’s one thing I respect about Provy: He’s always true to himself, so that’s where we’re at with that.”
John Tortorella Post-Game Interview
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 18, 2023
The Flyers published an official statement in response to Provorov’s decision, saying they are committed to inclusivity and they support LGBTQ+ organizations.
“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 jerseys and sticks will be auctioned off by Flyers Charities following the game with proceeds going to Flyers Charities and their efforts to grow the game of hockey in diverse communities.
As you can imagine, there’s been all types of reactions to Provorov not wearing the Pride Night jersey. One of the most notable comes from TSN Insider Pierre LeBrun, who suggests Provorov doesn’t respect everyone and shouldn’t hide behind his religion.
But Provorov obviously does not respect “everyone”. If he did respect everyone, he would have taken part in warm-up and worn the Pride Night jersey. Don’t hide behind religion. https://t.co/Qk6dTgAnmP
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 18, 2023
Ex-NHL player turned analyst JT Brown had one of the better takes on the situation. Instead of celebrating the LGBTQ community on Pride Night, we’re discussing Ivan Provorov.
Absolutely nothing wrong with the LGBTQ+ community, in fact they make the sport better. However, there is something wrong with being homophobic/transphobic. What a shitty distraction from an important night.
— JT Brown (@JTBrown23) January 18, 2023
Provorov and the Flyers will be back in action Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Puck drop is 7:00 PM EST at Wells Fargo Center.