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NHL Finally Joins Other Leagues in Postponing Playoff Games

Ron Fritz for Bookies.com

Ron Fritz  | 3 mins

NHL Finally Joins Other Leagues in Postponing Playoff Games

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The NHL postponed Stanley Cup playoff games on Thursday and Friday after being criticized for playing two games Wednesday while other leagues shelved games to protest a police shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin.

Thursday and Friday's scheduled games will be rescheduled beginning Saturday and the rest of the schedule will be adjusted accordingly, the NHL said Thursday.

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"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," the NHL said in a statement. "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 NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks became the first team to take a stand, refusing to play a scheduled playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. The NBA then postponed the playoff games it had scheduled Wednesday.

Jacob Blake was shot seven times by Kenosha, Wisconsin police Sunday as he attempted to get into his car. His three kids were in the vehicle. The shooting prompted protests in Kenosha and other cities as video circulated on social media.

After the NBA decided to postpone its games, the WNBA followed and didn’t play its three games Wednesday. Three MLB games and five of six MLS games were also postponed Wednesday.

But the NHL played its three playoff games Wednesday. Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks and the Hockey Diversity Alliance called on the NHL to postpone Thursday’s games to “allow players and fans to reflect on what happened and send a message that human rights must take priority over sport.”

The Hockey Diversity Alliance and NHL executives held a conference call Thursday, according to The Sports Network in Canada. The league then talked with the remaining eight teams in Edmonton and Toronto.

“We don’t feel it’s right for the NHL to be playing today,” Kane, who is Black, told TSN. “It’s a very small thing for (the NHL) to do.”

More Games Postponed

Seven MLB games were postponed Thursday: Athletics-Rangers, Phillies-Nationals, Red Sox-Blue Jays, Twins-Tigers, Rockies-Diamondbacks, Orioles-Rays and Marlins-Mets. The Marlins and Mets each lined up outside their respective dugouts at Citi Field in New York, stood for 42 seconds (to commemorate Jackie Robinson) then walked off the field at about 7:10 p.m., which had been the time of the scheduled first pitch. A shirt reading "Black Lives Matter" was left draped over home plate.

The NBA and WNBA also postponed their games scheduled for Thursday. According to reports, the NBA likely won’t play Friday, but could resume the playoffs Saturday.

The NFL, which begins its season on Sept. 10, put out a joint statement with the NFL Players Association. Several teams did not practice Thursday.

”The NFL community is united more than ever to support one another in these challenging times. We share anger and frustration, most recently as a result of the shooting of Jacob Blake. ... We will continue to not only use our collective platform to call out racism and injustice whenever and wherever it occurs in our country, but also fight together to eradicate it.”

Four years ago, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and oppression against people of color.

About the Author

Ron Fritz is a former editor at Bookies.com.