Alex Ovechkin was part of Hockey Night In Canada’s powerful opening last night.
The nearly four-minute intro, set to Bob Marley’s Redemption Song, put a spotlight on the Black Lives Matter movement and the newly formed Hockey Diversity Alliance, whose goal is to eradicate systemic racism in the sport and change the face of hockey. The opener aired hours after Matt Dumba became the first player to kneel during the national anthem of the Blackhawks-Oilers game.
Former Capitals forward Joel Ward and Devante Smith-Pelly were also featured in the clip.
The spot begins with a Nelson Mandela quote. “We have waited too long for our freedom. We can no longer wait. Now is the time to intensify the struggle. To relax our efforts now would be a mistake which generations to come will not be able to forgive.”
Using Black Lives Matter protest photos and hockey highlights, HNIC weaves together a story through quotes from members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance. In the end, Ovechkin along with Connor McDavid pledge their support.
Akim Aliu: “When we’re talking about racism and color, you can’t really understand unless you’ve walked in someone’s shoes.”
Wayne Simmonds: “To be a black player in hockey, sometimes it can be extremely lonely.”
Nazem Kadri: “As a young kid, I didn’t really have that poster boy on camera that I was like ‘I look like that guy.'”
Evander Kane: “I think that has to do with the lack of diversity our game has yet to tap into.”
Anthony Duclair: “One experience that’s always going to mark my memories is having a couple parents and a couple kids call me the N-word.”
Evander Kane: “When I was 10-years-old, probably about five or six screaming parents were banging on the penalty box glass, screaming ‘You’re a piece of s*&^. You’re a monkey.’”
Joel Ward: “In my pro career, I scored a goal in Boston. 2012. The backlash I’ve received was insane. People wanted me dead because of the color of my skin and all I wanted to do was help my team win.”
Matt Dumba: “I bottled up a lot of stuff because you don’t have a voice to go somewhere. You don’t want to bring that hurt to your family on a consistent basis.”
Wayne Simmonds: “I think the message to the hockey community is we have to engage in these tough conversations because without these tough conversations we’re never going to get better.”
Chris Stewart: “We’re not looking for pity. We want to be the voice for the people who couldn’t fight through it and couldn’t persevere. This thing is alive and they’re really relying on us to really help out.”
Trevor Daley: “No kid should have to feel like they don’t belong.”
Akim Aliu: “I feel like we have the best game in the world, but we also have the game that has the most potential to grow.”
Evander Kane: “We have to commit to truly growing the game and invest in our youth, in the players that we have, the very few players that we have that our minorities at the highest level, and be able to promote the game within.”
[Patrick Mahomes, Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin, and Danny Green pledge their support: “I support the Hockey Diversity Alliance.”]
Evander Kane: “Hockey needs more color.”
For Ovechkin, it was the second time the Capitals captain has stood up to racism. In June, Ovechkin became the first Capital to comment on the murder of George Floyd due to police brutality.
RIP George Floyd 💔so sad to see what happening everywhere and DC!! it is so important for us to respect and love each other no matter what we look like!!!! We need listen and do change…pls stay safe….take care each other and family 🙏🙏🙏
— Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) June 2, 2020
Screenshot courtesy of Sportsnet
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.