The news comes after a player-led boycott in the NBA reignited a movement in the sports world, bringing together athletes to protest racial injustices following the shooting of Jacob Blake earlier this week by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“After much discussion, the NHL players believe the best course of action would be to step back and not play tonight’s and tomorrow’s games as planned,” said the NHL and NHLPA in a joint press release. “The NHL is supporting the players’ decision and will be rescheduling these four games starting Saturday and adjusting the rest of the second round schedule accordingly.
“Black and brown communities continue to face real and painful experiences. The NHL and NHLPA recognize that there is still a long way to go 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 force us to recognize this moment. We are committed to working to use our sport to influence positive change in society.
“The NHLPA and the NHL are committed to working to foster more inclusive and welcoming environments in our arenas, offices and beyond.
This postponement will result in the postponement of four Stanley Cup playoff games. Thursday’s schedule included two second-round games: Game 3 between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders (scheduled for 7 p.m. ET) and Game 3 of the Vegas Golden Knights against the Vancouver Canucks (9:45 p.m. ET). HEY). Friday would have seen two more, with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins set to face off in Game 4 of their series, followed by Game 4 between the Colorado Avalanche and the Dallas Stars.
Earlier Thursday, the Hockey Diversity Alliance issued a public call to action, pushing the NHL to suspend competition after advancing with games scheduled for Wednesday despite widespread action from other leagues, and urging them to join what was a historic event. across the world of sport and society as a whole.
“We the [HDA] officially called on the NHL to suspend all playoff games today, ”HDA co-manager Evander Kane said in a statement tweeted Thursday. “We strongly believe this sends a clear message that human rights take precedence over sport.”
The HDA, whose steering group includes Kane, Matt Dumba, Nazem Kadri, Akim Aliu and Wayne Simmonds, also held a conference call with a number of actors inside the bubble on Thursday as talks continued. All day long.
The move was initiated on Wednesday by the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, who decided not to go to court for their 4 p.m. ET warning against the Orlando Magic for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series. Instead, the Bucks – whose playground is just an hour’s drive north of where Blake, an unarmed black man, was shot seven times by police officers on Sunday – remained in their locker room. in the Orlando bubble. From there, they contacted Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, formed a team statement to address the urgent need for real action in the face of anti-black racism and police brutality, and sparked a wave of historic action around the NBA and the sports community. They were joined by athletes from the WNBA, MLS, MLB and professional tennis, all urging their respective leagues to take a break and make room for crucial conversations and actions.