NHL Russian Hockey Player Refuses to Wear Pride Night Jersey

The Flyers showed there support for the LGBTQ+ community through the use of rainbow jerseys and wrapped sticks during their warm up.

Los Angeles Blade

The Flyers showed there support for the LGBTQ+ community through the use of rainbow jerseys and wrapped sticks during their warm up.

Sarak Chhim, Reporter

On January 17th, Ivan Provorov, an ice hockey defenseman and alternate captain for the Philadelphia Flyers in the National Hockey League, declined to wear the team’s LGBTQ+ warmup jersey for the Pride Night. The Philadelphia Flyers were going against the Anaheim Ducks and the Flyers victoriously won with the score of 5-2.


After the game in the locker room, he was asked why he boycotted the LGBTQ+ jersey by a reporter and he responded with, “I respect everybody, and I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion, that’s all I’m going to say.”


Provorov said he is Russian Orthodox. Eastern Orthodox Christians believe in a single God who is both three and one (Triune); the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, “one in essence and undivided.” Eastern Orthodox churches have official LGBT policy, and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese lists homosexuality beside fornication, adultery, abortion and abusive sexual behavior. They see it as “immoral and inappropriate forms of behavior in and of themselves, and also because they attack the institution of marriage and the family.” It adds that, “homosexual behavior is a sin.” Similarly, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States, declares, “Like adultery and fornication, homosexual acts are condemned by Scripture.”


During the game they used sticks wrapped in rainbow-colored tape during their warm-up ahead of the game and posted pictures of a few players wearing the jerseys in a tweet. The team also tweeted a video of some of those jerseys hanging up in the locker room with a post saying, “Hockey Is For Everyone.” The proceeds will be donated to charities who will auction off the jerseys and sticks and use the money for promoting diversity in hockey.


Flyers head coach “John Tortorella” said at the press conference after the game that, “he respects Provorov for being true to himself… and to his religion.” The NHL Flyers posted a statement on this matter that reads, “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.” It continues, Clubs decide whom to celebrate, when and how with the League counsel and support,” the NHL said. “Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”


In my opinion, I agree with coach Tortorella and respect Ivan Provorov. If it’s your religion that’s stopping you for wearing a jersey then I believe that’s fine. He wasn’t hating on the entire LGBTQ+ community, but some people still believe that he’s gone too far. In this situation it reminded me of the “Harm Principle.” The belief “that no one should be forcibly prevented from acting in any way he chooses provided his acts are not invasive of the free acts of others.” Basically saying people should be free to act however they wish unless their actions cause harm to somebody else. Provorov decided not to wear the jersey and that was his right to do so, his actions weren’t to hurt but it still did to some people, but people need to understand that that’s his decision and you shouldn’t force someone to wear something they don’t want to wear.


Freedom of expression is an essential part of a healthy society. It is vital to the promotion of diversity and inclusion. It should be embraced and respected as an important aspect of our society, even when two seemingly opposing views are in play, such as the one where people of faith do not wish to support the LGBTQ community due to religious beliefs. Freedom of expression is an essential part of democracy and a fundamental human right. Supporting LGBTQ rights and not wanting to support it because of religious beliefs is an individual choice and should be respected. Everyone must have freedom to voice their opinions in order to foster a healthy and productive society where everyone feels safe and respected. Respect for all beliefs is necessary in order for progress to be made in society and for individuals to remain safe and feel respected.