NHL on Flyers D Ivan Provorov: 'Players are Free to Decide Which Initiatives to Support'

The National Hockey League released a statement Wednesday regarding Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov’s decision not to wear a Pride Night-themed warmup jersey, saying players are free to choose which initiatives to support.

“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 statement read. “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.”

Provorov was asked about his decision following Tuesday’s contest, citing his Russian Orthodox faith:

“I respect everybody. I respect everybody’s choices,” said Provorov. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”

Philadelphia head coach John Tortorella defended Provorov postgame:

“With Provy, he’s being true to himself and to his religion,” said Tortorella. “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.”

The Flyers are back in action Thursday when they host the league-worst Chicago Blackhawks.

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