VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The NHLPA has voted to cancel all playoff games scheduled for Thursday, including the Vancouver Canucks’ game against the Vegas Golden Knights, according to multiple reports.
“The Vancouver Canucks and Vegas Golden Knights players have elected not to play tonight’s game in the name of equality and to protect against acts of racial injustice,” says a tweet from the Canucks.
“The Canucks organization is 100 per cent supportive. The decision emphasizes the importance of being an ally, moving the conversation forward and taking action. We have all worked hard to come together to play games, but this is a moment for all of us to take a stand. This is bigger than hockey. #BlackLivesMatter.”
It's official https://t.co/oeB7dhKJdb
— Bruce Claggett (@BruceClaggett) August 27, 2020
The game between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders in Toronto is also reportedly postponed as players join those in other professional sports leagues in support of human rights and in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
The NHL players might not play games Friday, either.
Hockey Diversity Alliance also called on the NHL to suspend all playoff games Thursday.
“We strongly feel this sends a clear message that human rights take priority over sports,” Matt Dumba, a player with the Minnesota Wild and a member of the alliance, says in a tweet.
— Matt Dumba (@matt_dumba) August 27, 2020
“Actually it’s incredibly insulting as a black man in hockey the lack of action and acknowledgment from the @nhl, just straight-up insulting,” adds San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane, a founding member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance — formed to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.
— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) August 27, 2020
“As far as I’m aware, I don’t think there’s going to be any games being played. I think the players who are in the bubble currently, who were slated to play today and even tomorrow, feel strongly about not playing and having this be a time to educate themselves and ourselves as a hockey community on these issues and show support for not only us as Black players in the league, but Black people as a society, and all minorities, for that matter,” Kane said in an interview with Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto.
“We had a good discussion this morning and was proud to be a part of that.”
Larry Brooks, with the New York Post, reports the Canucks were the driving force behind the ultimate position taken by players not to play.
Told that the Canucks were the driving force behind ultimate position taken by players not to play…
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) August 27, 2020
“According to a source, NYI-Philly were going to play tonight, but Canucks’ stance shifted the dynamic heading into PA call. Van was scheduled to play Vegas,” Brooks wrote in another tweet.
Meanwhile, NBA players decided Thursday to resume the playoffs after a morning meeting.
However, games scheduled for Thursday will still be postponed. The Toronto Raptors were scheduled to play the Boston Celtics.
Several NFL teams also cancelled practices on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the NBA, WNBA, and MLS cancelled games in a protest against racial injustice.
The NHL was widely criticized for failing to cancel games Wednesday in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests.
Former player and current Sportsnet broadcaster Kelly Hrudey said the league was offside in its decision.
“I don’t think we should be here. I think the NHL should postpone the games. I really feel that we should be more supportive of Black Lives Matter,” he said.
“I’d prefer to be having this conversation with my family. I’ve said, many months ago, when I made my video about Black Lives Matter, it means something to me,” Hrudey said while speaking to his Sportsnet panel.
-with files from Ash Kelly and Hana Mae Nassar