During the NHL’s restart on Saturday, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba became the first NHL player to kneel during the national anthem as a silent protest against racial injustice.
The opening of the first game in Edmonton included a salute to social justice activists and healthcare workers and a speech from @mnwild defenseman Matt Dumba on behalf of the NHL and Hockey Diversity Alliance. #WeSkateFor Black Lives. pic.twitter.com/mtLo4vw5DT
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) August 1, 2020
Prior to this, he spoke at center ice at Rogers Place before the Edmonton Oilers faced the Chicago Blackhawks.
“During this pandemic, something unexpected but long overdue occurred: The world woke up to the existence of systemic racism and how deeply rooted it is within our society,” Dumba said. “Racism is a man-made creation and all it does is deteriorate from our collective prosperity. Racism is everywhere. Racism is everywhere and we need to fight against it.
“On behalf of the NHL and the Hockey Diversity Alliance, we vow and promise to stand up for justice and fight for what is right,” he said. “I know first-hand as a minority playing the great game of hockey the unexplainable and difficult challenge that come with it. The Hockey Diversity Alliance and the NHL want kids to feel safe, comfortable and free-minded every time they enter an arena. I stand in front of you today on behalf of those groups and promise you that we will fight against injustice and fight for what is right.”
Edmonton defenceman Darnell Nurse and Chicago goalie Malcolm Subban, both black players, each put a hand on Dumba’s shoulder while he knelt.
– – Quotes via William Douglas of NHL.com Link – –