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.



We are back! No better feeling then getting to go into battle with the fellas! ....... These last few months have been filled with lots of uncomfortable conversations for many and realizations of how we need to be better for others. I have been fortunate to grow up in a family that has supported me and been there for me when having to face some of the racism in sport. There have been times my mother and father have had to stand up to remarks about their biracial son in the stands, there have been times in which I’ve had to sit in that dark lonely place in my head after being called the n-word and there have been times my teammates have stood up for me because of the words and actions of opponents. I cannot tell you how much the support of my family and teammates meant in those situations. These examples aren’t to say poor me but instead shed light on some of my personal experiences which I am sure many share with me. Experiences that have been a part of every stage of playing hockey. These are things as a human being I hope one day can become a thing of the past. I have been fortunate to play alongside some unbelievable teammates of all different races but I’m especially proud to play on a team during these times that has so many different cultures. I look at the picture above and see 3 minority players in this league enjoying the greatest game on earth. This is a picture my grandparents, immigrants from Trinidad, probably never thought they’d see. With all that said, we need to continue this discussion on equality and make hard changes for the better. I am an optimistic person, always have and always will be and I am optimistic about what we can all achieve. But let’s not turn the conversation into a sense of contentment because we still have a lot of change to go. Enjoy the playoffs it really is the best time of the year! But don’t forget about the change that we can all be a part of.

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