The NHL was neutral as it issued a statement when asked to comment Wednesday on Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov.
On Tuesday, Provorov, citing religious beliefs, boycotted the LGBTQ+ Pride Night warmups, during which the Flyers wore Pride-themed jerseys and used sticks wrapped in rainbow tape.
The NHL said it “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.
“Clubs decide whom to celebrate, when and how — with league counsel and support,” the NHL added in its statement.
The league said players don’t necessarily have to abide by teams’ decisions on whom to celebrate.
“Players are free to decide which initiatives to support,” it said, “and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”
While Provorov’s decision received nation-wide attention, general managers around the NHL had more pressing business — trying to put trades in motion.
The best-in-the-NHL Boston Bruins, for instance, have had talks with Vancouver about veteran defenseman Luke Schenn, per Boston Hockey Now. Schenn, 33, a former Flyer who won a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay, has played on seven teams. A good shot blocker, he leads the NHL with 203 hits.
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Around the NHL and National Hockey Now
Philly Hockey Now: Ivan Provorov drew mixed reactions for his controversial decision to skip pre-game warmups with a Pride Night theme. Philadelphia Flyers.
Philly Hockey Now: Scott Laughton and Tony DeAngelo are among the athletes who will be honored Monday at the 118th Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s banquet. Philadelphia Flyers.
Boston Hockey Now: Will the Bruins be Luke Schenn’s eighth NHL stop in 15 years? Boston Bruins.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Former Flyer Mark Friedman scored his first goal of the season, but the Penguins fell to Ottawa in overtime, 5-4. The Senators scored four power-play goals in nine opportunities. Pittsburgh Penguins.
San Jose Hockey Now: The Sharks and Detroit traded minor-league forwards, including South Jersey native Kyle Criscuolo, a former Lehigh Valley Phantom. San Jose Sharks.
Montreal Hockey Now: The Habs’ are drawing trade interest in veteran defenseman Joel Edmundson. Montreal Canadiens.
Los Angeles Hockey Now: Rasmus Kupari isn’t producing like a first-round pick, but he has been effective, especially on defense. Los Angeles Kings.
New York Islanders Hockey Now: The low-scoring Isles are sacrificing defense for offense with their latest moves. New York Islanders.