NHL Network analyst E.J. Hradek, while slamming Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov for refusing to participate in the team's Pride Night activities, said the Russian-born defenseman should return to his home country and fight against Ukraine if he doesn't want to take part in such events.
"Ivan Provorov can get on a plane any day he wants and go back to a place where he feels more comfortable, take less money, and get on with his life that way if it's that problematic for him," Hradek said Wednesday on the NHL Network program "NHL Now," reported Outkick.
Provorov, 26, came under fire after he refused to wear a Pride-themed warmup jersey Tuesday night before his team took the ice in a home game against the Anaheim Ducks. He played in the game but said he had boycotted the pregame warmups and the jersey because of his religious beliefs as a Russian Orthodox Christian.
"I respect everybody, and I respect everybody's choices," Provorov said. "My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion."
Hradek noted that Provorov has been in North America for years, as he is in his seventh season in Philadelphia and played junior hockey in the Western Hockey League.
"If this is that much of a problem for him to maybe assimilate into his group of teammates and in the community and here in this country; that's OK," Hradek said. "Listen, you can feel any way you want, but the beauty is, if it bothers you that much, there's always a chance to leave.
"Go back where you feel more comfortable. I understand there's a conflict going on over there. Maybe get involved."
The NHL, which has the slogan "Hockey is for Everyone," said in a statement that "Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.