Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers abstains from Pride Night due to his religion

Philadelphia Flyers player Ivan Provorov chose not to take part in the NHL side’s annual Pride Night because of his Russian Orthodox religion.

The Flyers players warmed up before Tuesday’s game against Anaheim Ducks wearing jerseys with their names and numbers in rainbow colours and their sticks wrapped in rainbow tape.

But Provorov was absent as he wanted to “stay true to myself and my religion”.

“I respect everyone. I respect everybody’s choices,” he said.

The Flyers players wore their usual jerseys for the match itself, with Provorov playing 23 minutes in a 5-2 win.

Flyers coach John Tortorella backed Provorov’s decision, saying: “This has to do with his beliefs and his religion. It’s one thing I respect about [Provorov], he’s always true to himself.”

In a statement the Philadelphia Flyers said it is “committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the LGBTQ+ community”.

The Flyers added that the rainbow-themed jerseys and sticks will be auctioned off to raise money for charities that “grow the game of hockey in diverse communities”.