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NHL on Provorov: ‘Players are free to decide which initiatives to support’

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An executive with an LGBTQ advocacy group says he doesn’t want the actions of Ivan Provorov to overshadow all the good that’s happening in hockey.

Provorov didn’t warm up with his Flyers teammates on Tuesday night ahead of Philadelphia’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. The Flyers wore Pride-themed jerseys and used sticks wrapped in rainbow-coloured tape during the pre-game activities but Provorov, who is Russian Orthodox, said it was against his religious beliefs to support an LGBTQ initiative.

Kurt Weaver, the chief operating officer of the You Can Play Project, said his organization told concerned fans to “look at the sport that is there.”

“If you focus in on one item that’s not there, it’s going to be a tough day, no matter what you’re doing,” said Weaver. “Look at what’s happening. Look at the positive. Look at an arena full of people celebrating.

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“A full team, coaching staff, and front office staff, who are supporting and celebrating outside of one individual. All I can ask you to do is focus on that part.”

The sticks and jerseys Provorov’s teammates used to warm up are being auctioned off by Flyers Charities, with proceeds going toward their efforts to grow the game in diverse communities.

Weaver said that the Flyers are one of the NHL’s leaders in terms of LGBTQ inclusivity.

“Let’s say it’s 20 years ago, I think we have at that point maybe three people who would wear Pride jerseys. So now we’re going to have 19 of 20 wearing them. (That’s) a huge amount of progress,” said Weaver. “I think for us to expect every player, every time, to do this is probably unrealistic.”

The 26-year-old Provorov played nearly 23 minutes in Philadelphia’s 5-2 victory over Anaheim. He explained after the game why he decided to not participate.

“I respect everybody’s choices,” said Provorov. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Provorov declined to answer follow-up questions about his decision.

Flyers coach John Tortorella said Provorov “was true to himself and to his religion.”

“It’s one thing I respect about Provy, he’s always true to himself,” Tortorella said.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, leader of Russia’s dominant religious group, sent a strong signal last March justifying his country’s invasion of Ukraine — describing the conflict as part of a struggle against sin and pressure from liberal foreigners to hold “gay parades” as the price of admission to their ranks.

The NHL issued a statement in response to Provorov’s boycott on Wednesday morning.

“Hockey is for Everyone is the umbrella initiative under which the league 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,” reads the NHL statement. “Clubs decide whom to celebrate, when and how — with league counsel and support.

“Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”

Weaver said that he understood the NHL’s position and that in some ways it dovetailed with the approach taken by the You Can Play Project.

“They take the same stance that we do, which is, ‘We’re going to work our butts off to make the case to you that this is the right thing to do, and that this is a good thing to do,'” said Weaver, who added that his organization reached out to the Flyers to offer Provorov or anyone else on the team education and support.

“Not everybody, of course, agrees with that, even when you make that case. That’s got to be reality.”

The NHL Player’s Association did not immediately reply to The Canadian Press’s request for comment.

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Discover the Best Online Casino in Canada

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Are you the one who loves to play at a real online casino? Win big with the best online casino for Canadian players. Gambling games are created to give you great gameplay moments. If you are not yet familiar with the different types of casino slots and how to play them, it’s time to learn about the reels and the pay-line.

Types of Games at an Online Casino in Canada

There are many different types of online casino games in Canada:

  • slots;
  • poker;
  • roulette;
  • blackjack;

The most popular top casino online games are slots. So, we will describe them in more detail below.

Types of Online Slot Machines in Canada

We are interested in this last game because it has two beautiful variants, the three-reel, and five-reel slots.

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Three-Reel Slots

These are the classic slot machines, the ones that have flooded casinos and bars since their creation in 1898, by Charles August Fey. Today, you can find these slot machines directly on your connected devices.

Canadian three-reel online slot machines are distinguished by their quality graphics, atmospheric music, and payouts. These include Colossus Fruits and Jocker’s Corners, both of which are high-value slots.

Five-Reel Slots

The more reels, the better the gameplay. Five reels allow you to win via a variety of combinations, which we’ll discuss below.

Five reel online  games in Canada increase the odds of winning and multiply the amount of real money you will pocket.

Just go to an online slot machine in Canada, like Book Of Demi Gods III, and you’ll enjoy a clean player interface and a great atmosphere.

And with five-reel slots, big wins are certain. We’ll explain it to you now.

How to Play Online Casino Games in Canada?

You can play gambling games in Canada without downloading them at the best online Canadian casino. Games on a server allow you to play on all your devices. You spin the reels, you land on a good configuration, you win a bonus and you pocket the winnings directly into your account.

The other advantage of playing online is the availability from all regions of Canada. Accessing the site of a Canadian online casino allows gamblers to enjoy their favourite games from the comfort of their homes.

How Does the Payline Work?

Top online casino games allow you to win large amounts of money. The 243 different combinations of five-reel slots offer right-to-left, diagonal, and left-to-right combinations.

Plus, they are regulated by law. Online slot machines in Canada must:

  • be games of chance;
  • have a displayed minimum stake;
  • have a return rate of more than 93%.

You can choose the games at a casino online and play for real money for big wins! At King Billy, the best online casino in Canada, you can get up to $2,500 and 250 spins for the first four deposits. Play casino online games and win big with generous King Billy!

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Novak Djokovic’s father won’t attend Australian Open semi-final after Russia flag controversy

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Novak Djokovic’s father Srdjan said on Friday he would not attend his son’s Australian Open semi-final and would instead “watch from home,” after a video emerged showing him posing at Melbourne Park with fans holding Russian flags.

The video caused controversy in Australia, leading to the country’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Friday reiterating Australian support for Ukraine and criticizing supporters of Russia’s invasion.

“I am here to support my son only. I had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption,” Srdjan Djokovic said in an e-mailed statement.

“So there is no disruption to tonight’s semi-final for my son or for the other player, I have chosen to watch from home.”

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Novak Djokovic declined to comment.

“I will make this point, that Australia stands with the people of Ukraine,” Albanese told a news conference after a reporter asked if Srdjan Djokovic should be deported after he was seen posing for pictures with fans holding Russian flags.

“That is Australia’s position and Australia is unequivocal in our support for the rule of international law.

“We do not want to see any support given to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that is having a devastating impact on the people of Ukraine.”

Albanese did not respond directly to the question about whether Srdjan Djokovic should be deported.

Police questioned four fans seen with “inappropriate flags and symbols” after a quarter-final match on Wednesday between Russia’s Andrey Rublev and favourite Djokovic, organizers Tennis Australia said.

The Serbian player, who was at the centre of a storm of controversy over his COVID-19 vaccination status at last year’s Australian Open, has not commented on the incident and his spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A video emerged on social media showed a fan on the steps of Rod Laver Arena holding up a Russian flag with the image of President Vladimir Putin on it.

Photos also showed one fan with a large “Z” on his shirt. Russian forces have used the letter as an identifying symbol on their vehicles in Ukraine following their invasion. Some supporters of the invasion have also used the sign.

Srdjan Djokovic was seen in some posts posing with the Russian supporters.

Australian Open organizers on Thursday issued a reminder to players and their entourages about their policy on flags after the video of Djokovic’s father emerged.

On Friday, Tennis Australia said they “continue to strive for the safety of fans at the event and reiterate our position banning flags from Belarus and Russia.”

Russian and Belarusian athletes are able to compete as individual athletes without national affiliation at the Australian Open, though their flags are banned from the tournament grounds after a complaint by Ukraine’s ambassador last week.

Djokovic was deported on the eve of the tournament last year for not being vaccinated against COVID-19 and received a three-year Australian travel ban.

That ban was rescinded in November, allowing him to compete this year.

Djokovic will continue his bid for a record-extending 10th Australian Open title and 22nd Grand Slam crown to match Rafa Nadal when he takes on unseeded American Tommy Paul in their semi-final later on Friday.

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Falcons hire defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen from Saints

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons found their new defensive coordinator from an NFC South rival’s coaching staff on Friday by hiring Ryan Nielsen, the former New Orleans Saints co-defensive coordinator.

Nielsen replaces Dean Pees, 73, who retired on Jan. 9 following two seasons in charge of the defense on coach Arthur Smith’s staff.

The Falcons also announced three defensive assistants will not return next season: defensive line coach Gary Emanuel, outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino and secondary coach Jon Hoke.

Nielsen will be reunited with Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot, who worked 18 years with the Saints before he was hired by Atlanta in 2021.

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Nielsen, 43, interviewed with the Falcons on Tuesday. He had worked on the Saints’ staff since 2017 and was the defensive line coach this season.

Nielsen’s success with the Saints’ pass rush may have impressed Fontenot. The Falcons ranked 31st with only 21 sacks this season after having the league’s fewest sacks in 2021. Atlanta ranked 27th in total defense, allowing 362.1 yards per game while finishing 7-10.

The Saints have recorded 282 sacks since Nielsen joined the staff in 2017, the second-most in the league during that span. New Orleans finished in the top 10 in sacks in five of the six seasons. The Saints finished in the top four in rushing defence in four of the last five years.

In Nielsen’s six seasons working with the Saints’ defensive line, Cameron Jordan became the first New Orleans defensive lineman to be named a first-team All-Pro. Jordan also earned two second-team All-Pro honors and was named to five Pro Bowls.

Nielson was a defensive assistant and recruiting coordinator at North Carolina State from 2013-16. He also coached at Northern Illinois, Tennessee-Martin, Central Connecticut State, Mississippi, Idaho and Southern California.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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