Ryan Reaves was struggling with what he wanted to do while in bed Wednesday night.
“Am I really going to quit my team and be the only guy?” Reaves wondered. ” Or [are there] is it gonna be a couple of guys? ”
[ENRELATION:[RELATED:[ENRELATION:[RELATED:NHL playoff games postponed to protest racism]
Then Reaves woke up on Thursday to a text from the former St. Louis Blues teammate Kevin Shattenkirk, whose Tampa Bay Lightning faced the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night in Toronto, the hub of the East. Reaves is black; Shattenkirk is white. Shattenkirk said a group of players from the East wanted to speak.
Then Reaves got a text telling him the Canucks players wanted to talk too.
“The conversation started with white players from other teams wanting to talk,” Reaves said. “I think that’s the most powerful thing that has happened today, and now you see us all together, all of our opponents here. ”
Video: NHL players unite to fight racism and injustice
This contributed to the players’ decision, supported by the NHL, not to play in the Stanley Cup playoff games scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
After the announcement Thursday, five players stood at the microphones in Edmonton: Reaves, Colorado Avalanche center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Dallas Stars attaquant Jason Dickinson, Centre des Canucks Bo Horvat and avalanche center Facebook Facebook logo Sign up for Facebook to connect with Nazem Kadri. Players from each of the hub’s four teams stood behind them.
“I think if you look around this room there are a lot of white athletes here, and I think that’s the statement being made right now,” Reaves said. “It’s great that the NBA has done this, the MLB and the WNBA. They have a lot of black players in these leagues. But for all these athletes here to take a stand and say, ‘You know what? We also see the problem. , and we are behind you… ‘
“I’m going to war with these guys, and I hate their guts on ice. But I couldn’t be prouder of these guys. The statement they made today is something that will last. These two days are not going to fix anything, but the conversation and the statement that was made is very powerful, especially coming from this League. ”
Reaves has a unique perspective on the issues. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, her mother, Brenda, is white. Her father, Willard, is black and a former sergeant at Manitoba Sheriff Services in Winnipeg. His great-great-great-grandfather Bass Reeves was the first black U.S. Deputy Marshal (and spelled his last name differently when he was born a slave in 1838).
When the Golden Knights faced the Stars in the Stanley Cup qualifying round robin on August 3, it was their first game since a black man, George Floyd, died in the custody of a white police officer. May 25 in Minneapolis. Reaves took a knee for the national anthems with Golden Knights goalie Dickinson Robin Lehner and Stars forward Tyler Seguin.
“He’s a smart and intellectual guy who has a lot of loyalty to his breed but also to law enforcement and the military,” said Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer. “He does nothing without considering everything.
“And so, when we discussed what was going to happen here today, he had my full support. I don’t think he slept much last night. I think it weighed heavily on him, but I also think he was very comfortable. in his decision. I am really proud of him and proud to support him. ”
Video: Ryan Reaves on solidarity between NHL players
It’s significant that Reaves, a tough guy known for his hard knocks and witty chirps, helped bring his fellow League players together, including opponents he’s making a playoff against.
“I think that’s all part of the statement,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “There is the sport, and then there are things that are bigger than the sport, and I was not at all surprised this morning when I spoke to our players and they wanted to talk to Ryan . They thought it was the right thing to do.
“These guys are teammates in the League. Often they play on different teams. They all care about each other but when they go out on the ice they always go up against each other hard and yet they felt like our group wanted to make sure the Vegas team knew, or Ryan knew, that they were behind him and wanted to have a conversation. I was behind them all the time and stood behind them 100 percent regardless of their decision.
“It’s hard not to be proud of them. “