NHL players explain their two-day protest against racism and police brutality in powerful press conference
Hours after the NHL officially announced it had postponed two days of playoff games due to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Western Conference players held a 20-minute press conference from inside the Edmonton bubble explaining their decision.
Black players Ryan Reaves of the Colorado Avalanche and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare of the Colorado Avalanche were joined at the podium by the Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri, a Hockey Diversity Alliance member whose family is from Lebanon and identifies as a Muslim; the Stars’ Jason Dickinson, who kneeled with three other players during an August 3 game; and Bo Horvat, the captain of the Vancouver Canucks. The five speakers were joined by dozens of their mask-wearing teammates who stood behind them in unity. In a league that has always sported predominantly white athletes, it was a powerful and unprecedented moment against systemic racism.
The players explained that the movement was organic and started by the league’s white athletes. Players wanted games canceled on Thursday and Friday so that they, along with NHL fans, could reflect and educate themselves on racial injustice and make changes moving forward.