Flyers' Ivan Provorov Doesn't Wear Pride Night Jersey, Cites Religious Beliefs

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2023

ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 2:  Ivan Provorov #9 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates on the ice during the first period against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on January 2, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov decided against participating in a pregame skate Tuesday on LGBTQ+ Pride Night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly.

Every other Flyers player took part and wore warmup jerseys emblazoned with rainbow-colored names and numbers in celebration of Pride Night.

Provorov still played in the Flyers' 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks, and while speaking to reporters afterward, he said his choice to not wear the pride jersey was because of his desire "to stay true to myself and my religion," which is Russian Orthodox.

The Russian defenseman added: "I respect everyone. I respect everybody's choices."

Flyers head coach John Tortorella supported Provorov during his postgame press conference, saying: "With Provy, he's being true to himself and to his religion. 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."

On Wednesday, the NHL released a statement on the matter, noting that players have the right to choose which initiatives they want to support:

Greg Wyshynski @wyshynski

The <a href="https://twitter.com/NHL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NHL</a> has responded to ESPN's request for comment on <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLFlyers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NHLFlyers</a> defenseman Ivan Provorov, who declined to take warmups last night because he refused to wear a Pride Night jersey.<br><br>From the NHL: <a href="https://t.co/Q6SlKQwmWM">pic.twitter.com/Q6SlKQwmWM</a>

The 26-year-old Provorov was born and raised in Russia before making the move to the United States to play in the USHL and then Canada to play juniors in the WHL.

Provorov was selected seventh overall by the Flyers in the 2015 NHL draft, and he has gone on to spend his entire seven-year NHL career in Philadelphia.

On Tuesday, Provorov led all Flyers defensemen in ice time at 22 minutes and 45 seconds, and while he did not record a point, he had one shot on goal and a plus-1 rating.

Provorov has had an uneven season for a Flyers team that has perhaps exceeded expectations with a 19-19-7 record.

He has two goals and 13 assists for 15 points in 45 games to go along with a minus-7 rating, 83 shots on goal and 12 penalty minutes.

Provorov and the Flyers will return to the ice Thursday night when they host the struggling Chicago Blackhawks.