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Bettman On Provorov Boycotting Pride Night: ‘I Think Everybody Knows What Our League Stands For’

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman discussed Ivan Provorov’s boycott of Pride Night and shared more on the league’s initiatives and goals to become more welcoming and inclusive.



In Buffalo for Ryan Miller's jersey retirement on Thursday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke with reporters and also commented on Ivan Provorov's decision to skip out on the Philadelphia Flyers' "Pride Night" festivities on Tuesday.

Provorov did not take part in the Flyers' pregame skate on Tuesday prior to their game against the Anaheim Ducks because he did not want to wear the Flyers' Pride Night jerseys. The sweaters were the team's regular practice jerseys with rainbow-colored nameplates and numbers on the back.

Bettman emphasized the league's initiatives and work to promote inclusivity and commented on the ongoing situation, which has seen mixed responses to Provorov's decision.

"At the end of the day, I think everybody knows what the league stands for in terms of our values, what the Flyers stand for in terms of their values, but in the final analysis, individual players are going to make decisions and follow their beliefs," Bettman said in a press conference, via NYIHN's Stefen Rosner.

When asked why he did not want to wear the jersey for the 15-minute warmup, Provorov said he "respects everybody's choices" but cited religious reasons and would not comment further. He clarified he is Russian Orthodox.

"I respect everybody, I respect everybody's choices," Provorov said following Philly's 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Pride Night. "My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That's all I'm going to say."

Flyers head coach John Tortorella said that he respected Provorov's decision to stay true to himself and said he did not consider benching him over the decision.

Bettman added that Provorov should not take away from the league's initiatives and overshadow the work that the other players have done to promote the game and the "Hockey Is For Everyone" movement.

"When you look at all of our players and the commitments that they've made to social causes and to make our game welcoming and inclusive, let's focus on the 700 that embrace it and not one or two that may have some issues for their own personal reasons."

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