PHILADELPHIA — Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov cited his Russian Orthodox faith as the explanation he didn’t take part in pregame warmups when the workforce wore Pride-themed jerseys and used sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape.
The 26-year-old Provorov boycotted the pregame skate together with his teammates earlier than Tuesday night time’s sport in opposition to Anaheim because the Flyers celebrated their annual Pride night time in celebration and help of the LGBTQ+ group. He performed practically 23 minutes in Philadelphia’s 5-2 victory.
“I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov mentioned after the sport. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”
Provorov declined to reply follow-up questions on his choice.
Flyers coach John Tortorella mentioned Provorov “was true to himself and to his religion.”
“It’s one thing I respect about Provy, he’s always true to himself,” Tortorella mentioned.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, chief of Russia’s dominant non secular group, despatched a powerful sign final March justifying his nation’s invasion of Ukraine — describing the battle as a part of a wrestle in opposition to sin and stress from liberal foreigners to carry “gay parades” as the worth of admission to their ranks.
The jerseys and sticks had been set to be auctioned off by the Flyers following the sport, with proceeds going to the workforce’s charity and its efforts to develop the sport of hockey in numerous communities.
The Flyers additionally hosted a pregame skate for native LGBTQ+ youth. Flyers gamers James van Riemsdyk and Scott Laughton have been staunch supporters of the group and launched a program in help of native LGBTQ+ youth within the larger Philadelphia space.
Laughton and van Riemsdyk met after the sport with about 50 individuals within the LGBTQ+ group. Laughton mentioned total the Flyers had a “great, great night that brings a lot of awareness.”
Laughton mentioned there can be extra conversations forward with Provorov, who moved from Russia to the US as a young person. He signed a six-year, $40.5 million contract earlier than the 2019 season and gained the Barry Ashbee Trophy because the Flyers’ excellent defenseman in his rookie season, the youngest Philadelphia participant to obtain the respect.
“I don’t hold anything against anyone,” Laughton mentioned. “It’s nothing like that. It was an awesome night and I’m very happy we got a win on a night like this.”