The NHLPA and NHL have released a joint statement that their players have chosen not to play in any of the previously scheduled Stanley Cup Playoff games for tonight and tomorrow:
This decision comes after teams across multiple sports leagues, including but not limited to the NBA, WNBA, MLB, and MLS, refused to play yesterday in protest of the Jacob Blake shooting and systematic racial injustice as a whole. The NHL and its players drew much criticism for not joining their fellow athletes in striking, instead carrying on with games as scheduled.
Earlier today, the Hockey Diversity Alliance formally requested the NHL suspend all playoff games scheduled for Thursday. Players still active in the playoffs also began talking among themselves about the issues at hand and reason for the protests, in addition to reaching out to members of the HDA currently not in the bubble:
More than 100 players in the bubble had a call with Evander Kane and Matt Dumba this afternoon.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) August 27, 2020
Players from both the Eastern and Western Conference bubbles held media availability sessions to discuss their reasons for choosing not to play. The players emphasized that it was time for action, not just words, and that they need to stay united in order to inspire any real change.
Powerful stuff from Ryan Reaves here pic.twitter.com/iXBcDMkY6H— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) August 27, 2020
Bellemare, with what might be one of the most promising statements yet (as one of the speakers in front of all Western players): “you could change the guys in front (on the mic) and our message remains the same.”— Alison (@AlisonL) August 27, 2020
The coaches of the remaining playoff teams also spoke with the media, lending their support of the players’ decisions. The NHL Coaches’ Association also released their own statement condemning racial injustice.
"There's sports and then there's things that are bigger than sports." - Coach Green pic.twitter.com/qwSfKMpnmp— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) August 27, 2020
By opting to protest for two days instead of just one, players from all eight remaining teams are joining in. There is currently no official word as to how the protests will affect the remaining playoff schedule, but the NHL is exploring all options:
As for the 2nd RD schedule, nothing for sure yet, but sounds like 3 games on each of Saturday and Sunday. Then a more regular schedule after that. Could be a Game 7 next Saturday. Still not 100 percent firmed up but that’s the talk right now.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) August 27, 2020
We here at Defending Big D applaud the NHL players for their decision, as well as the NHL for lending their full support. We will will keep you posted regarding when Game 4 of the Dallas Stars’ series against the Colorado Avalanche will be rescheduled to.