NHL players will not participate in playoff hockey for the next two nights.
In a joint statement via the NHL and NHLPA, it was announced players have made a decision to postpone the previously scheduled Stanley Cup Playoff games-- they will not take the ice on Thursday or Friday.
“After much discussion, NHL players believe that the best course of action would be to take a step back and not play tonight’s and tomorrow’s games as scheduled,” the statement said. “Black and Brown communities continue to face real, painful experiences. The NHL and NHLPA recognize that much work remains to be done before we can play an appropriate role in a discussion centered on diversity, inclusion and social justice.
“We understand that the tragedies involving Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others require us to recognize this moment. We pledge to work to use our sport to influence positive change in society.”
The NHL’s newest team, the Seattle Kraken, released a statement Wednesday condemning brutality and systemic racism against people of color.
The NHL’s decision comes just one day after the Milwaukee Bucks became the first sports team to refuse to take the court in protest of the Jacob Blake shooting.
Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times by police on Sunday. While attempting to enter the driver’s side door of his vehicle, he was shot with his three children inside the car.
Many criticized the NHL for its leisurely move to postpone games. The NHL was the only major sports league in North America to not have any games postponed on Wednesday as NBA, WNBA, MLB and MLS players sat.
Players from both NHL conferences, including the four remaining teams in the Western Conference, gathered in Edmonton Thursday to announce their decision not to play.
There’s currently no word on how the protests will affect the remaining playoff schedule.