NHL agent Pettinger on Provorov: ‘To take such a public stance felt disrespectful’

Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid discusses the NHL's diverse range of initiatives on game nights voicing his and the club's full support for the league's decision to hold these initiatives throughout the season.

When NHL agent Bayne Pettinger saw the news of Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Ivan Provorov‘s decision to skip warmups on Pride Night Tuesday, he couldn’t help but feel like all the progress made with the “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative took a big hit.

Pettinger, who came out back in Nov. 2020 and became the first openly gay NHL agent, has been a huge advocate in making the hockey world a safe space for everyone. On Wednesday, he joined Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek on the Jeff Marek Show to express his disappointment over last night’s incident.

“We are not going to change everyone’s mind,” Pettinger explained. “But to take such a public stance like that felt disrespectful.”

He went on to describe how damaging Provorov’s actions could potentially be to all the progress made over the past few years.

“We take these steps forward and we have all these initiatives and we start to show great signs within the game, and then people use their platform to damage that and say that you’re not welcome here,” said the young agent.

Pettinger was also disappointed in Provorov’s comments after the game, when he told reporters that he “respect[s] everybody’s choices.”

“That was one thing that really stood out to me, was ‘I respect people’s choices,” said Pettinger.

“It’s not a choice. It wasn’t a choice for me to come out as gay, that is how I was born and that’s my truth, I have to live that. A choice is something you choose between, I had to do this to ensure my happiness and my success and my continuation in this great game of hockey.”

Since Pettinger’s announcement, he has had a ton of support from superstars around the league, including names like Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby and Morgan Rielly. Therefore, he’s interested to see how Provorov’s decisions impact the Flyers moving forward.

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“While he’s sitting in the locker room, essentially protesting against pride night, his teammates are out there,” Pettinger tells Marek. “I’m curious to see how it goes within that Philadelphia locker room. From my days at Hockey Canada, I’ve got some great friends on that team who I have already spoken to.”

But amidst all the disappointment and sadness over Provorov’s actions, Pettinger says he also doesn’t want to take away from some of the good the event did in the City of Brotherly Love.

“I don’t want to take away from what was I’m sure a great night in Philadelphia,” Pettinger explained. “Scott Laughton and (James van Riemsdyk) hosted 50 youth beforehand, and continue to do that throughout.”

Regrettably, Pettinger also knows that Provorov’s decision will ultimately take away from the overall message the Flyers were trying to establish.

“It was disappointing to see a player distract from welcoming in a community and a celebration to bring fans in and show that hockey is for everyone,” said Pettinger. “Instead, he made a quite glaring stance that it is not for everyone.”

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