Recently, the hockey world has been abuzz with the conversation surrounding Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov’s decision to boycott the team’s Pride Night in order to stay true to his religion.
“I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov said, according to Fox News. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”
While some praised Provorov for standing by his beliefs, others were quite vocal about their disapproval of his choice, with one Canadian TV host even going so far as suggesting that the NHL should fine the Flyers billions of dollars.
Despite the outcry against Provorov’s refusal to wear an LGBT-themed warmup jersey, he received support from both the National Hockey League and his coach, John Tortorella.
Tortorella was particularly vocal on the matter and expressed admiration towards Provorov being able to stay true to himself. Similarly, according to a statement made by the NHL released to ESPN, players are free to decide which initiatives they choose to support or not.
“This has to do with his belief and his religion,” the coach explained. “It’s one thing I respect about Provy: He’s always true to himself. That’s where we’re at with that.”
“Hockey is for Everyone is the umbrella initiative under which the league encourages clubs to celebrate the diversity that exists in their respective markets, and to work to achieve more welcoming and inclusive environments for all fans,” the league stated. “Clubs decide whom to celebrate, when, and how — with league counsel and support. Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”
Interestingly enough, this controversy has resulted in an influx of popularity for Provorov as it seems that demand for his jerseys have sky-rocketed past availability.
According to Flyer Insider Greg Price, within days of Ivan Provorov’s statement, his jerseys sold out and were no longer available online nor at Wells Fargo Arena unless shoppers happen to be Brad Marchand or a small girl looking for a size small jersey.
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Flyers head coach John Tortorella defended Provy and refused to bench him tonight:
“He’s being true to himself.”
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 18, 2023