The NHL joined other major professional sports leagues in North America as a reaction to repeated incidents against people of colour in the United States during the past few weeks by moving Thursday’s and Friday’s playoff games.
The full statement from the National Hockey League Players’ Association and National Hockey League:
After much discussion, NHL Players believe that the best course of action would be to take a step back and not play tonight’s and tomorrow’s games as scheduled. The NHL supports the Players’ decision and will reschedule those four games beginning Saturday and adjust the remainder of the Second Round schedule accordingly.
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.
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 NHL are committed to working to foster more inclusive and welcoming environments within our arenas, offices and beyond.
IIHF President René Fasel commended the league and the players’ association for their unified stance on social justice.
“The international ice hockey family commends the NHL for its support of the players’ fight for social justice,” said IIHF President René Fasel.
“The IIHF’s mission is to govern, develop and promote men and women’s ice hockey. However, it is also part of the IIHF’s mission to formulate or adopt and implement appropriate policies and programs in relation to racial discrimination. We applaud the efforts of the North American leagues in giving a platform to their players to speak their minds on these issues.
“The league and the NHLPA have done an excellent job with the season restart, creating a bubble where players can live and compete within the highest standards of health and safety,” added Fasel. “They have equally done a great job of recognizing the issues that players are having outside of hockey.”
The NHL plans to reschedule the four postponed games beginning Saturday and will adjust the remainder of the playoff schedule accordingly.