Evander Kane, Hockey Diversity Alliance Call on NHL to Suspend Playoff Games

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2020

San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane (9) stands on the ice during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane called for the NHL to postpone its playoff games scheduled for Thursday as a means of protest against the police shooting of 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday.

Kane made the request on behalf of the Hockey Diversity Alliance:

Evander Kane @evanderkane_9

We the @TheOfficialHDA have formally requested the @NHL to suspend all playoff games today. We strongly feel this sends a clear message that human rights take priority over sports.

As part of the protest, three NBA playoff games, three MLB games, five MLS games and three WNBA games were postponed Wednesday. All three NHL playoff games went on as scheduled.

Kane's Sharks are not in the playoffs, but the Canadian is among a handful of Black players in the NHL and expressed frustration with the league's lack of action Wednesday.

Sportsnet @Sportsnet

"It's not just my responsibility as a minority player in the NHL to be talking about these issues... We need to be better." @evanderkane_9 joined @DavidAmber to discuss how the NHL can do more to support the Black Lives Matter movement. https://t.co/wKFqxS0hav

As of Thursday, the NHL has announced no plans to postpone any of its playoff contests, but Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported that players are "being told to prepare for cancellations" Thursday.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, who is of Filipino descent, was also discouraged by the NHL's decision, as evidenced by his comments on Vancouver's Sportsnet 650 (h/t CBS Sports' Pete Blackburn) on Wednesday:

"The NHL is always late to the party, especially on these topics, so it's sort of 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."

Wild teammate J.T. Brown, who is a Black man, tweeted his displeasure as well:

JT Brown @JTBrown23

Listening and learning about as good as my 1 year old.

There are currently two NHL playoff games scheduled for Thursday: Game 3 of the Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Islanders second-round series at 7 p.m. ET in Toronto and Game 3 of the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Vancouver Canucks second-round series at 9:45 p.m. ET in Edmonton.

Game 4 of the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins series in Toronto and Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars series in Edmonton are still scheduled for Friday.

The NBA and its players reached an agreement Thursday to resume the playoffs, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, but that was only after three games were postponed.