The Milwaukee Bucks' decision to forgo playing Game 5 of their scheduled first-round playoff matchup against the Orlando Magic amid ongoing protests against social injustice and systemic racism Wednesday set forth a chain of events that reverberated throughout the American professional sports landscape. That included the postponement of other NBA playoff games and WNBA contests, an on-court WNBA protest and the calling off of some MLS and MLB games.
The NHL, which held its entire three-game slate late Wednesday, has received backlash for a perceived lack of action on that front after police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, seven times in the back Sunday.
The NHL produced a pregame statement Wednesday that put forth a call to end racism and to "wish Jacob Blake and his family well," per Shayna Goldman of The Athletic:
Kane had previously spoken with David Amber of Sportsnet to discuss what the NHL could do to support efforts to end systemic racism:
"I know what's going to happen, and I don't think much is going to happen from that standpoint. But it's just back to it, I don't know, the NHL we're always late to the party, especially on these topics, so it's sorta sad and disheartening for me and other members of the [Hockey Diversity Alliance], and I'm sure other guys across the league.
"But if no one stands up and does anything, it's the same thing—it's just that silence that you're just outside looking in on actually being leaders and invoking real change when you have such an opportunity to do so."
Elsewhere, ex-NHL goalie and current Sportsnet analyst Kelly Hrudey said he felt games should not be played Wednesday:
ESPN's Emily Kaplan also expressed her disappointment: