The Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers got things started in the NHL’s Edmonton bubble on Saturday, but before the game, Minnesota Wild defenceman and Hockey Diversity Alliance member Matt Dumba delivered a powerful speech about systemic racism and how hockey plans to fight injustice.
Dumba took a knee during the U.S. national anthem — an uncommon gesture among hockey players so far, although more frequent in other leagues — and was praised by his fellow HDA member and Black hockey player Evander Kane on social media.
The NHL has been in close conversation with the HDA on how the league can fight racism in partnership with its Black players, and this platform for Dumba appears to be one of those methods.
Even as hockey gets back underway, it’s clear that players don’t plan to lose sight of the fight against racism, and it’s encouraging to see that calls for change continue to be made. Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse made the same calls on Instagram, in a lengthy personal essay about his experiences with racism in hockey.