Monday, 03 August, 2020

Dumba kneels, National Hockey League puts focus on Black Lives Matter movement

Wild's Dumba gives powerful anti-racism speech as NHL returns to play Matt Dumba is first NHL player to kneel during US National Anthem
Cary Erickson | 02 August, 2020, 03:50

More players need to step up and use their platform to call attention to systemic racism and the continued mistreatment of Black people in order to help influence change, while the league must sharpen its focus and simply do a whole lot better in order to prove that hockey really is for everyone.

Hockey has long been a game with a small percentage of Black players, and it subsequently holds a reputation for not always welcoming minority athletes.

The Regina native made a speech about social and racial justice prior to Edmonton's first game of the National Hockey League restart - the second overall - before he kneeled for "The Star Spangled Banner". As he did, Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse and Blackhawks backup goalie Malcolm Subban - both are Black - stood behind him, each with a hand on his shoulder.

The moment was significant because of the culture of silence around issues of racism that exist in hockey. "But let me assure you, it has not", Dumba said. Racism is a manmade creation and all it does is deteriorate from our collective prosperity. "The Hockey Diversity Alliance and the NHL want kids to feel safe, comfortable and free-minded every time the enter an arena". I hope this inspires a new generation of hockey players and hockey fans because Black Lives Matter.

As the Canadian national anthem started, Dumba, who plays in Minnesota, stood up.

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The Regina native made a speech about social and racial justice prior to Edmonton's first game of the National Hockey League restart - the second overall - before he kneeled for The Star Spangled Banner. "From a league standpoint, I think we'd maybe like to see a little more acknowledgement and having them address the situation and know that they stand with their players".

On Sportsnet's coverage of the Oilers-Blackhawks game, Akim Aliu and Evander Kane - co-heads of the Hockey Diversity Alliance - praised his courage and leadership.

"I think what he did was incredibly powerful and I think he should be very proud", said Rielly.

A similar ceremony was planned for Saturday night's game between the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins in Toronto. A founding member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, the 26-year-old Dumba shared an emotional and impassioned speech about racism and social injustice. No players appeared to kneel during anthems prior the first two games in Toronto.