Two months ago, before the Stanley Cup Qualifier, before training camp, before the decision on a new Collective Bargaining agreement, I shared my thoughts on a greater cause taking place on the world. The world was reminded of a virus that is poisoning the minds and lives of societies ever, that being racism.
As I saw more and more public figures speak out on police misconduct and systemic racism, I wondered when the NHL would do the same thing.
Organizations put out their various statements - some good and others not so good - while the league’s stars began speaking. But words can only do so much. We needed action, we needed a reason to believe that the NHL was serious in supporting Black Lives Matters and the fight to ensure all minority groups are represented and fought for.
But unfortunately we were getting the “suggested” support actions.
#WeSkateFor and #WeSkateForEquality showcased around the arenas in Toronto and Edmonton. Players mixing themselves up amongst their opponents standing together in lines and circles. Constant Twitter posts from the NHL saying they stand up against racism without any clear-cut display of what they’re standing up for.
And then we started seeing more.
A picture is worth 1000 words. This is worth so much more. pic.twitter.com/9BxgivUYdd— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) July 29, 2020
Matt Dumba takes a knee for the anthem pic.twitter.com/2kEIRe9Bxu— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) August 1, 2020
Matt Dumba gives a speech and takes a knee during the US National Anthem before the games begin in the Edmonton Hub pic.twitter.com/1DvKAl2Q8Y— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) August 1, 2020
Matt Dumba puts a glove up during the anthem pic.twitter.com/OiIDGjLlRs— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) August 3, 2020
Even still, it was only the minority players who were taking action. It made it worse learning that members of the Vegas Golden Knights were planning on taking a knee but others on the team didn’t feel comfortable.
Ryan Reaves said kneeling during the national anthem on Thursday was discussed, but said he wanted everyone to be included, and felt not all the Golden Knights would be comfortable kneeling— Justin “Wear A Mask” Emerson (@J15Emerson) August 1, 2020
How sad is that though? How many times would we have to see racialized players do this on their own?
That was until Ryan Reaves kneeled ahead of the Vegas-Dallas game. But this time, he wasn’t alone.
Vegas and Dallas players take a knee for the anthem including Tyler Seguin and Ryan Reaves pic.twitter.com/MegZCQiwdm— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) August 3, 2020
I can’t tell you how much this meant to me. For the first time through all of this, I truly started to believe that things were different. That hockey culture was starting to change.
Seguin had a powerful message for Black Lives Matter and was also out there protesting. However, kneeling for both the American and the Canadian anthems is further proof that he is for real in this.
And then there’s Robin Lehner. The Golden Knights goaltender wasn’t shy about sharing his political background. Though his kneeling here proves that he’s listening and learning from Akim Aliu and the countless stories the world has become privy to.
Since March was 100 years ago, I should have noted that Lehner expressed support for Akim Aliu and discussed his past support for Trump. Slipped my mind. https://t.co/Yfc8Dea8RV pic.twitter.com/r5zVh1yEOI— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 3, 2020
Robin Lehner- "I made a mistake once, putting a Trump sticker on my mask. That is something I regret now... At the end of the day it's about human rights, not politics."— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) August 4, 2020
It’s not too late. It’s not too late for you to learn and grow. It’s not too late to stand up for what you believe in. And this is for the NHL and its players, it’s not too late to put actions behind your words. You may lose fans, but you’ll gain a lot more.
What (Else) to Watch Today
Florida @ Islanders - noon, SN, TVAS, NBCSN, NHL.TV, MSG+, FS-F
Arizona @ Nashville - 2:30 PM, SN360, SN1, NHLN, NHL.TV, FS-TN, FS-A PLUS
Calgary @ Winnipeg - 6:45 PM, SN, NHLN, NHL.TV
*Carolina @ Rangers - 8 PM, SN360, TVAS, NBCSN, MSG, FS-CR
Minnesota @ Vancouver - 10:45 PM, SN, USA, NHL.TV, FS-N, FS-WI
*Potential elimination game
In Case You Missed It
Maple Leafs Auston Matthews shows you how to have a Zoom call beef - Pension Plan Puppets
When the Zoom call gets real, it helps to be on with Morgan Rielly, too.
Back to Excited Episode 112: Leafs vs Blue Jackets Game 1 Reaction - Pension Plan Puppets
We discuss the playoff opening loss
Around the Hockey World
NHL statement on COVID-19 testing results: pic.twitter.com/bjPuANz8Sq— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) August 3, 2020
Kunin fined $1,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct in Game 1 - Hockey Wilderness
The Wild forward will be a little lighter in the wallet after his interaction with Vancouver’s Micheal Ferland.
Capitals’ Nic Dowd, Garnet Hathaway podcast from inside NHL bubble - The Washington Post
Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway offer a peek inside "the safest place in the world right now."
Svechnikov’s hat trick puts Canes one game away - Canes Country
None of them were the Michigan. Shame.