Regina savage defenseman Matt Dumba becomes first NHL player to kneel for American anthem

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Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba became the first NHL player to kneel for a national anthem when the league resumed on Saturday.The Regina native gave a social and racial justice speech ahead of Edmonton’s first game of the NHL rerun – the second overall – before kneeling for “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The Oilers and Chicago players stood around the center circle of the ice for the two pre-game anthems.

Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and Chicago goaltender Malcolm Subban each put a hand on Dumba’s shoulder as he knelt for a recording of the American anthem. All three players are black.

WATCH | Savage Defender Dumba Takes One Knee During The Anthem:

After delivering a powerful anti-racist speech, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba took a knee during the US national anthem before Edmonton faced Chicago. 1:32

Grammy Award-winning singer Michael Buble performed “O Canada” on video recorded at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Dumba represented this hymn, played after “The Star Spangled Banner”.

Dumba wore a “Hockey Diversity Alliance” shirt for the ceremony, which also paid tribute to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Racism is everywhere and we have to fight against it,” Dumba said.

Similar ceremony planned for the Toronto hub

A similar ceremony was scheduled for Saturday night’s game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins in Toronto. No player appeared to kneel during the anthems before the first two games in Toronto.

Social justice has been a theme of sports reboots.

Almost every NBA player has knelt for the American anthem since the league resumed play Thursday in Orlando, Florida.

Major League Baseball also had players on their knees in their opening games last week, although it wasn’t such a high percentage.

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