NBA players started a movement to raise awareness for social injustice Wednesday by boycotting postseason games in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wis.
Other professional sports teams, from the WNBA to MLB to MLS, followed suit, abstaining from play. The NHL, meanwhile, continued with its postseason slate, including the Lightning-Bruins in Game 3 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
“With our team, we played (Tuesday) night, we played today, we really didn’t find out that the other leagues had taken their stance until we got here tonight, so ... I think for us it is something we found out by the time we got to the rink and something we’ll have to address going forward,” Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said after the 7-1 win.
Shattenkirk was vocal earlier this month about the league’s efforts to support racial equality and took part in a Hockey Diversity Alliance video.
“I think everyone is is taking different actions and making sure that their voices are heard and their support is heard,” Shattenkirk continued Wednesday night. “...Just trying to change and listen and just try to obviously be supportive of everyone who’s in with the cause as well.”
Ahead of puck drop, the Lightning and Bruins held a moment of silence for Blake and his family with “End Racism” and “We Skate for Black Lives” flashing on the video boards. Dallas and Colorado were supposed to do the same in Edmonton, but there wasn’t a moment of silence.
“Racism has been embedded in our society for far too long,” the video narrator said. “Today and every day, the NHL and the hockey community are committed in the mission to combat racial injustice and achieve a fair society for all. The NHL would like to take this moment to wish Jacob Blake and his family well and call out to our fans and communities to stand up for social justice and the effort to end racism.”
Coach Jon Cooper said the Lightning were so deep in game-day preparations that they initially were unaware of what was going on in the sports world outside the Toronto bubble. But he believes the NHL is doing good things when it comes to addressing racial injustice.
“Unfortunately, we can’t control some of the things that go on in the outside world and I truly believe that, whether it’s pro sports or the business world or whatever it is, at some point, we’re all gonna have to come together,” he said.
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