Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov chose not to take part in the pregame warmup before playing in Tuesday’s win over the Anaheim Ducks because the hosts were celebrating Pride Night to support the LGBTQ community.

“I respect everyone. I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion,” Provorov said afterward, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Giana Han.

The blue-liner, who is Russian Orthodox, declined to elaborate and said he’d only take hockey questions. The team also prevented reporters from following up on the subject, per Han.

The club emphasized its inclusion efforts in a postgame statement.

“The Philadelphia Flyers organization is committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the LGBTQ+ community,” the statement reads, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jordan Hall. “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.”

Flyers head coach John Tortorella spoke to reporters before Provorov and made the same point the rearguard did, stating Provorov was “being true to himself and his religion.” The bench boss added, “That’s one thing I respect about Provy,” and said he didn’t consider benching him for the game itself.

The Flyers wore Pride-themed warmup jerseys and used warmup sticks wrapped in rainbow-colored Pride tape before Tuesday’s game. The team also hosted a pregame skate for local LGBTQ youth, who attended the game as guests of the club and then met forwards James van Riemsdyk and Scott Laughton afterward.

Last Tuesday, it was reported the Flyers were listening to calls about Provorov’s potential availability in a trade. The 26-year-old is under contract through 2024-25.

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