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Friday’s FTB: Making a statement

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A day late, but they did get there.

Still from NHL Western Conference press conference showing large group of players standing at mics. Ryan Reaves is at the head of the group.

Yesterday the players of the National Hockey League collectively decided that they were not playing last night’s games, nor any of the games that were scheduled to be played today. The decision came after they previously failed to join athletes from across other sports, starting with the NBA’s Bucks and and Magic, in their August 26th wildcat strike in protest of the attempted murder of Jacob Blake by the Kenosha police.

Instead, it wasn’t until the day after, August 27th, amongst growing criticism and backlash from fans and commentators, that news began to emerge of a potential suspension of games within the NHL. While there was a lot of initial confusion in the reporting of where the impetus for the suspension of play was coming from, it was eventually clarified that the decision was driven by the players themselves, something that both Nazem Kadri and Evander Kane emphasized on twitter. The NHL and NHLPA’s joint statement in the evening formalized the decision, putting the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs on hold for at least two days.

Both conferences held media availabilities following the announcement, with the Western conference – where the player-led push to suspend play originated – making a powerful visual statement by having players from all four teams join together behind the mics, with Ryan Reaves, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Nazem Kadri, Jason Dickinson, and Bo Horvat speaking on behalf of their respective teams.

The Eastern conference’s media availability on the other hand, looked a bit different.

The teams acknowledged that the movement to not play yesterday originated with the Vancouver Canucks and Vegas Golden Knights.

Some of the teams also put out their own statements. In absolutely no particular order:

The Toronto Maple Leafs also put out their own statement: