By now, you have already heard why Ivan Provorov did not participate in pregame warmups for the Flyers before the Anaheim game. You know what he said, you know what the team said, you know what John Tortorella has said. If you don’t, here are some excellent resources.
There are full novels written by incredibly intelligent people on the subject matter — inclusion is important. The world is better with more diversity. Prejudice is dangerous. That’s not what we’re talking about today. We’re going to talk about what actually happened.
On Tuesday, January 17, 2023 the Philadelphia Flyers played a hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks. The game took place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. This is the game the Flyers chose as their annual Pride night. Part of this night included both monetary and ticket donations to local LGBTQ+ organizations (I’ve listed them below). Another part involved Flyers players wearing custom jerseys for pregame skate to be auctioned off after the game.
Prior to the game, Flyers players will wear special Pride-themed warmup jerseys and use warm-up sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape. Both the jerseys and sticks will be auctioned off by Flyers Charities following the game with proceeds going to Flyers Charities and their efforts to grow the game of hockey in diverse communities.
This is where the facts of the night start to get muddy. At some point, prior to taking the ice for warmups, Ivan Provorov notified someone that he was not going to participate. I do not know who that someone was. He later cited religious reasons for abstaining. This is what we are talking about here. Ivan Provorov refused to wear an article of clothing because of his religion — which he stated is Russian Orthodox. It is being described as a protest, but I will not do that. He declined to wear the jersey and participate in pregame activities.
Here you can see that the logo has not changed, yet the numbers and last name are in rainbow. That’s it. Some colors in addition to orange. The Flyers regularly wear special warmup jerseys pregame and raffle them off. This isn’t something new. This was, however, the first time that they had done Pride jerseys. In the past, they have done rainbow tape and many players declined to use it.
We could talk about rights and freedoms, but we’re not. We could talk about prejudice and international politics, but we’re not. We could talk about locker room dynamics and fractured trust, but we’re not.
Ivan Provorov declined to participate in a game day activity that left him feeling like he would be untrue to himself if he participated. For 15 minutes. This activity was wearing a black Flyers jersey with different colors on the number and nameplate for a predetermined period of time. There were no patches, nothing that outright suggested it was for Pride aside from the arena decorations. He said no. That is what happened.
Here are some LGBTQ+ organizations that the Flyers have donated towards, please check them out.
- Attic Youth Center
- Independence Business Alliance
- Mazzoni Center
- Philadelphia Falcons
- Philadelphia FIGHT
- Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus
- William Way LGBTQ Community Center