The Canadian Press
Minnesota Wild defenceman Matt Dumba became the first NHL player to kneel for a national anthem during the league’s restart on Saturday.
The Regina native made a speech about social and racial justice prior to Edmonton’s first game of the NHL restart — the second overall — before he kneeled for « The Star Spangled Banner. »
Players from the Oilers and Blackhawks stood around the centre-ice circle for both anthems prior to the Edmonton-Chicago game.
Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse and Blackhawks goalie Malcolm Subban, both of whom are Black, each put a hand on Dumba’s shoulder as he kneeled for a recording of the American anthem.
Grammy Award-winning singer Michael Buble sang « O Canada » on a video recorded at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena. Dumba stood for that anthem, played after « The Star Spangled Banner. »
Dumba wore a « Hockey Diversity Alliance » shirt for the ceremony, which also paid tribute to front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A similar ceremony was planned for Saturday night’s game between the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins in Toronto. No players appeared to kneel during anthems prior the first two games in Toronto.
Almost all NBA players have kneeled for the American anthem since the league resumed play Thursday in Orlando, Fla.
Major League Baseball also had players kneeling during its opening games last week, though it was not as big a percentage.
Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba takes a knee during the national anthem flanked by Edmonton Oilers’ Darnell Nurse, right, and Chicago Blackhawks’ Malcolm Subban before an NHL playoff game in Edmonton, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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