Capitals

NHL postpones Thursday and Friday Stanley Cup playoff games

Capitals

In the wake of the NBA postponing its playoff games and certain MLB teams and players boycotting matchups on Wednesday to bring attention to social injustice and police brutality in the country, the NHL is doing the same.

The league released a statement announcing that games on Thursday and Friday would be postponed as it looks to "take a step back." The four games will be made up beginning on Saturday.

"Black and Brown communities continue to face real, painful experiences," the statement said. "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."

The Philadelphia Flyers were scheduled to take on the New York Islanders at 7 p.m. and the Vancouver Canucks and Las Vegas Golden Knights would follow at 9:45 p.m on Thursday. The Lightning and Bruins, as well as the Avalance and Stars, were set to play on Friday. 

The decision by the league was in large part due to the voices of the players. Notably,  San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba and other NHL players who are part of the Hockey Diversity Alliance took to Twitter to ask the league to postpone Thursday's scheduled games in order to demonstrate that the issues at hand are more important than postseason hockey. 

 

TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported that Dumba and Kane had a conversation with over 100 players in the NHL bubble on Thursday.

 

The Hockey Diversity Alliance aims to eliminate systemic racism, inequality and intolerance from the game of hockey. Former Capital Joel Ward is a member of the HDA's executive board.

Kane was outspoken on Wednesday when the NHL did not put a halt to any games and stated that it would continue on as regularly scheduled following postponements in the NBA and MLB. Kane saw the lack of action and initiative taken by the league as "incredibly insulting as a black man in hockey." Wayne Simmonds expressed disappointment as well.

 

Postponements across professional sports began on Wednesday when the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted Game 5 against the Orlando Magic following the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year old who was shot seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. 

The move sent a shockwave through the sports world, and resulted in the NBA postponing all three games scheduled for Wednesday. The league has been in talks since then to determine when play resume after considering whether or not to end the season as a whole. As of now, games are expected to return over the weekend, but no matchups will be played on Thursday.

The WNBA also postponed all of its games on Wednesday. MLB had multiple postponements while other games were played, and the MLS played just one game before postponing the rest.

Activism across the sports world is nothing new, as players, coaches and leagues have put an emphasis on bringing attention to issues of police brutality and racial injustice following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor earlier this year. With change yet to happen, players have taken it upon themselves to create a larger focus on the problems at hand.