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Tuesday’s FTB: NHL players show the power behind actions that match their words

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Ryan Reaves, Tyler Seguin, Robin Lehner and Jason Dickinson.

Dallas Stars v Vegas Golden Knights - Game One Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Current standings of all series, and the round robin seeding games.

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