The NHL’s Thursday and Friday playoff games have been postponed in response to the outcry for racial injustice awareness after a Black man was shot by police in Wisconsin.
The games will be rescheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29 and the rest of the Round 2 schedule will be adjusted, the league announced.
The league said this was the decision of the players not to play the games and that the NHL honors that decision.
“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,” reads a statement from the league Thursday evening. “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 NHLPA and the NHL are committed to working to foster more inclusive and welcoming environments within our arenas, offices and beyond.”
The announcement to postpone the four playoff games on Thursday and Friday comes after the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA) requested that the NHL do so. San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane tweeted Thursday on behalf of the HDA:
Led by the NBA and WNBA, pro athletes forced the postponement of games on Wednesday in a move to protest racial injustice after the recent shooting of a Black man (Jacob Blake) by a police officer in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Bucks, who had a game scheduled for 4:30 p.m. against the Orlando Magic, announced their intention to boycott about 4:13 p.m. Major League Baseball teams also took part in this boycott of games.
The NHL, meanwhile, went ahead with its Stanley Cup playoff games on Wednesday. There were three games on the schedule, starting with the Islanders and Flyers at 3 p.m., then the Lightning and Bruins at 8 p.m. (both in Toronto) and the Avalanche and Stars at 10:30 p.m. out west in Edmonton. NHL players did not boycott, and the league allowed the players to make that decision.
On Wednesday, Kane was among the long list of vocal critics of how the NHL and players handled the situation.
“Actually it’s incredibly insulting as a black man in hockey the lack of action and acknowledgement from the @nhl, just straight up insulting,” Kane tweeted.
There were two games scheduled for Thursday and two for Friday.