Kane happy to see NHL players making statement with boycott

USA Today

As the NBA and much of the sports world came to a screeching halt after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their playoff game Wednesday in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, the NHL kept on spinning.

All three Stanley Cup playoff games went on as scheduled later that day, with the league's response limited to a single "moment of reflection" prior to puck drop between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins.

That didn't sit well with Sharks winger Evander Kane, who as co-head of the Hockey Diversity Alliance deemed the NHL's response to be "insulting."

The following morning, the HDA formally requested that the NHL suspend all of Thursday's playoff games. Hours later, the league responded by postponing not just Thursday's games but Friday's as well.

Kane joined the NHL on NBC broadcast Thursday and explained how that all went down.

"Going back to yesterday, we had an internal discussion with the members of our alliance on how we felt and what we wanted to do, with again, more inaction from our league and, to be honest, from our players, we felt," Kane said. "And we had another early discussion this morning, and that was fortunately followed by a conversation with a group of over 100 players in the bubble.

"And to give them credit, they reached out to us. And we were pleasantly surprised to hear some of the dialogue that they had had within their teams and within small groups regarding these issues and what they wanted to do. Ultimately, they made a decision to forego games today and tomorrow, and obviously we supported that decision and commended them for that."


On a call with the NHL Players Association, all eight remaining playoff teams reportedly expressed interest in postponing Thursday and Friday's games. That was a point of emphasis for Kane and the HDA in their discussions with players around the league.

"It was great to see that the players came to the realization that this was an important period of time and moment in time to make a statement and come together," Kane added. "I think the biggest thing I stressed along with Matt [Dumba] was that it can't just be one or two teams or three or four teams -- it's got to be everybody. And the fact that everybody came together, I thought, was great."

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A huge contingent of players announced and explained their decision at a press conference Thursday. The crowded stage left an impression on Kane.

"I saw one of the pictures just on Twitter of the guys at the podium," Kane said. "It was a pretty cool picture. It was a cool moment to see the guys come together, stand up for what is right, and not be afraid of the blowback or the trolls when it comes to social media. I think that's important. I think hockey players have always kind of shied away from the spotlight a little bit, and it was nice to see them finally step into it."