Flyers' Ivan Provorov chooses to not warm up because of Pride Night jersey

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Provorov chooses to not warm up because of Flyers' Pride Night jersey originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Citing his religious beliefs, Ivan Provorov chose to not participate in warmups on the Flyers' Pride Night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The team wore Pride Night-themed jerseys during warmups Tuesday as the organization celebrated and supported the LGBTQ+ community with its annual initiative.

Provorov, the team's top-pair defenseman, did not take the ice for warmups but played in the Flyers' 5-2 win over the Ducks.

The 26-year-old is Russian Orthodox.

"I respect everybody and 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. ... That's all I'm going to comment on that. If you have any hockey questions, I'll answer those."

A Flyers spokesperson released the following statement after the game:

"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."

Provorov, in his seventh season with the Flyers, played 22:45 minutes Tuesday night.

His omission from warmups was perplexing given Provorov seldom misses a game and has a regimented pregame routine. The 2015 first-round pick of the Flyers has missed only three games in his NHL career. He voiced his frustration when those three games came in a row last season because of the NHL's COVID protocol. It ended Provorov's ironman streak at 403 games, a run dating back to the start of his career as a 19-year-old rookie.

"I think the organization has sent out a release regarding the organization, the beliefs that we have and how we feel about [Pride Night] and, really, a great night," Flyers head coach John Tortorella said. "With Provy, he's being true to himself and 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."

Tortorella said he did not consider sitting Provorov for the game. Provorov is in Year 4 of a six-year, $40.5 million contract.

"I think it was a great night in celebrating," Tortorella said. "The organization has put out a statement. I'm not going to get too deep into the conversation. Those are the comments as far as Provy. We talked as a team and with Provy, and that's where we're at."

Scott Laughton and James van Riemsdyk are the Flyers' player ambassadors for the organization's Pride initiative. They met with a group of people in the LGBTQ+ community following the game. The group also enjoyed a skate at the Wells Fargo Center prior to the game and toured the arena.

"I know Provy spoke, I know Torts did," Laughton said, wearing a Pride Night-themed shirt. "Me and JVR just got back from a room with about 50 people from the community. It was a great night. Amazing initiative and something that has been close to me for a long time. I know Reemer, too.

"I'm going to leave it at that. To be honest, it's a great, great night that brings a lot of awareness. I know they spoke on it. I'll leave it at that."

Senior vice president of community relations and Flyers Charities executive director Cindy Stutman spoke to the LGBTQ+ group at the pregame skate and was joined by executive director of community and fan development Brad Marsh and director of community development Bob Kelly, both former Flyers.

"I think it has come a long way throughout the years since I've been here, since I started 'You Can Play,' everything like that," Laughton said of the initiative. "It has been great. We had a great night tonight. It was awesome seeing all those people, having everything out there, seeing the signs in warmup.

"I'm sure conversations will happen down the road. I don't hold anything against anyone. It's nothing like that. It was an awesome night and I'm very happy we got a win on a night like this, where a lot of people can put smiles on their faces."

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John Tortorella speaks on Provorov skipping warmups on Flyers' Pride Night

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