The National Hockey League has been firmly in the corner of enacting change through social justice and they are continuing to put their money where their mouth is.
The league announced today that they will postpone the four Eastern and Western Conference Second Round games through Friday. The shutdown comes in the wake of the murder of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin and is being done out of respect for minority communities in this time. The games will resume on Saturday.
The decision came from the NHL players, who “believe that the best course of action would be to take a step back and not play tonight’s and tomorrow’s games as scheduled. The NHL supports the Players’ decision and will reschedule those four games beginning Saturday and will adjust the remainder of the Second Round schedule accordingly.”
The press release put out by the league continued to say that “Black and Brown communities continue to face real, painful experiences. The NHL and NHLPA recognize that much work remains to be done before we can play an appropriate role in a discussion centered on diversity, inclusion and social justice. We understand that the tragedies involving Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others require us to recognize this moment. We pledge to work to use our sport to influence positive change in society.”
The NHL also said that the “NHLPA and NHL are committed to working to foster more inclusive and welcoming environments within our arenas, offices and beyond.”
This is a good look for the NHL. The other leagues playing right now, including Major League Baseball (who canceled all games on their slate today) and the NBA are postponing games out of respect for the moment. The NHL should, if they are truly committed to their hashtag of #WeSkateForEquality, postpone these games. Some things are more important than hockey and the NHL understands this.