Flyers’ Provorov cites religion for boycott on Pride night

Jan 17, 2023, 5:51 AM | Updated: Jan 18, 2023, 12:33 pm
Philadelphia Flyers' Ivan Provorov, left, and Anaheim Ducks' Max Jones collide during the third per...

Philadelphia Flyers' Ivan Provorov, left, and Anaheim Ducks' Max Jones collide during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

              Toronto Maple Leafs' Wayne Simmonds, left, plays the puck past Philadelphia Flyers' Ivan Provorov during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)
            
              Washington Capitals' Evgeny Kuznetsov, left, tries to get past Philadelphia Flyers' Ivan Provorov during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov cited his Russian Orthodox religion as the reason he did not participate in pregame warmups when the team wore Pride-themed jerseys and used sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape.

The 26-year-old Provorov didn’t take part in the pregame skate with his teammates before their game against Anaheim on Tuesday night, when the Flyers celebrated their annual Pride night in celebration and support of the LGBTQ community. He played nearly 23 minutes in Philadelphia’s 5-2 victory.

“I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov said after the game. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Provorov declined to answer follow-up questions about his decision.

Flyers coach John Tortorella said Provorov “was true to himself and to his religion.”

“It’s one thing I respect about Provy, he’s always true to himself,” Tortorella said.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, the leader of Russia’s dominant religious group, sent a strong signal last March justifying his country’s invasion of Ukraine — describing the conflict as part of a struggle against sin and pressure from liberal foreigners to hold “gay parades” as the price of admission to their ranks.

Even though Russian President Vladimir Putin justified his invasion of Ukraine in part as a defense of the Moscow-oriented Orthodox church, leaders of both Ukrainian Orthodox factions are fiercely denouncing the Russian invasion, as is Ukraine’s significant Catholic minority.

The jerseys and sticks were being auctioned off by the Flyers following the game, with proceeds going to the team’s charity and its efforts to grow the game of hockey in diverse communities.

The Flyers also hosted a pregame skate for local LGBTQ youth. Flyers players James van Riemsdyk and Scott Laughton have been staunch supporters of the community and launched a program in support of local LGBTQ youth in the greater Philadelphia area.

Laughton and van Riemsdyk met after the game with about 50 people in the LGBTQ community. Laughton said overall the Flyers had a “great, great night that brings a lot of awareness.”

Laughton said there would be more conversations ahead with Provorov, who moved from Russia to the United States as a teenager. He signed a six-year, $40.5 million contract before the 2019 season and won the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers’ outstanding defenseman in his rookie season, the youngest Philadelphia player to receive the honor.

“I don’t hold anything against anyone,” Laughton said. “It’s nothing like that. It was an awesome night and I’m very happy we got a win on a night like this.”

All-Star forward Kevin Hayes, who had a hat trick in the game, said “it’s not for me to answer” when asked how he felt about Provorov’s decision.

The Wells Fargo Center was decorated Tuesday night in rainbow hues representing the LGBTQ community through special pride-themed arena LEDs, décor and rainbow-themed team merchandise.

“The Philadelphia Flyers organization is committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the LGBTQ+ community,” the team said in a statement after the game. “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 NHL also champions the You Can Play Project, which aims to ensure equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. The NHL has never had an openly gay active player.

You Can Play co-founder Brian Kitts said in a statement on Twitter that “religion and support for fans and teammates aren’t mutually exclusive.”

“The Flyers have been among the first and most consistent teams in sports supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion,” Kitts said. “There is still work to be done to change hearts and minds and the You Can Play Team looks forward to continuing our efforts.”

___

AP NHL: www.apnews.com/hub/NHL and www.twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Activists momentarily surround an MPD cruiser during a march for Tyre Nichols, who died after being...
Associated Press

Memphis police disband unit that beat Tyre Nichols

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis police chief on Saturday disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit, citing a “cloud of dishonor” from newly released video that showed some of its officers beating Tyre Nichols to death after stopping the Black motorist. Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis acted a day after the harrowing video emerged, saying […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Saturday’s Scores

GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL= Bothell 44, Glacier Peak 40 Burlington-Edison 47, Squalicum 33 Columbia River 53, R.A. Long 28 Entiat 60, Cascade (Leavenworth) 9 Evergreen Lutheran 48, Three Rivers Christian School 26 Hermiston, Ore. 66, Pasco 36 Kamiakin 61, Kennewick 35 Kennedy 49, Bainbridge 42 La Conner 81, Skyview 77 Lakeside (Seattle) 71, Seattle Prep 37 […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Saturday’s Scores

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL= Bothell 64, Glacier Peak 49 Cedarcrest 60, Marysville-Pilchuck 57 Inchelium 71, Springdale 70 Kellogg, Idaho 50, Newport 27 Lynden 69, Lakewood 50 Naselle 63, Winlock 59 Sound Christian 69, Pope John Paul II 34 ___ Some high school basketball scores provided by Scorestream.com, https://scorestream.com/ Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Arizona Republicans pick former Trump official to lead party

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Republicans on Saturday selected former state treasurer and Donald Trump aide Jeff DeWit to be the party’s next chairman, turning to a familiar face with relationships across the fractured party after its worst election in decades. DeWit replaces firebrand Trump ally Kelli Ward, who helped the former president in his efforts […]
18 hours ago
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the South Carolina Statehouse, Saturday...
Associated Press

Trump says beating of Nichols ‘never should have happened’

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Saturday said the footage of the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers is “horrible” and that the attack “never should have happened.” “I thought it was terrible. He was in such trouble. He was just being pummeled. Now that should never have […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Bus falls into ravine in northern Peru, leaving 25 dead

LIMA, Peru (AP) — A passenger bus fell into a ravine in northern Peru on Saturday leaving at least 25 people dead and others injured, authorities said. The bus belonging Q’orianka Tours had left the capital of Lima for the Tumbes region near the Ecuador border on Peru’s coastal desert. The early morning accident left […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Flyers’ Provorov cites religion for boycott on Pride night