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NHL player cites religion for refusing to participate in 'Pride Night' celebrations

Capitals Flyers Hockey
Posted at 11:33 AM, Jan 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 13:35:40-05

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov skipped a pregame skate Tuesday night after refusing to wear a "Pride Night" jersey to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

During the skate, the players also used sticks wrapped with rainbow tape.

Following the game, the Provorov told reporters that he made the decision to skip the skate because he is Russian Orthodox.

"I respect everybody. I respect everybody's choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion," Provorov said.

Flyers head coach John Tortorella said he was proud to host Pride Night, but added that he respects Provorov for being true to himself.

The organization released a statement following the game, doubling down on its support of 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 statement says. "The Flyers will continue to be strong advocates for inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community."

The Flyers said they are auctioning off the Pride jerseys and sticks to benefit charities that help grow the game in diverse communities.