The NHL appears to be on the verge of postponing all playoff games Thursday night in a move that follows steps the NBA, WNBA and some MLB teams took to send the message that human rights take priority over sports.
Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, a founding member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA), joined fellow members Thursday in requesting that the NHL follow suit and postpone all playoff games Thursday night.
"We the [Hockey Diversity Alliance] 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," Dumba wrote in a tweet.
Sporting postponements are happening days after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Civil unrest has followed in cities nationwide, including in Minneapolis Wednesday night after a Black man died by suicide on a downtown sidewalk as officers pursued him as a suspect in a fatal shooting earlier in the day.
Crowds grew large with many people looting stores and damaging buildings. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey requested the National Guard to be called in, which was approved by Gov. Tim Walz. Guard members are now positioned in parts of the city that were the site of the unrest Wednesday night.
A citywide curfew is also in effect from 8 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday.
On Wednesday, after a 17-year-old male believed to be connected to a white militia group fatally shot two people in Kenosha, the NBA and WNBA postponed games in a show of solidarity while calling for an end to police brutality. Three MLB games were also postponed, though the NHL played on.
"NHL is always last to the party on these topics," Dumba told Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver on Wednesday. "It's kind of sad and disheartening for me and for members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, and I'm sure for other guys across the league. But if no one stands up and does anything, then it's the same thing. That silence. You're just outside, looking in on actually being leaders and evoking real change when you have such an opportunity to do so."
TSN's Darren Dreger reports that an announcement from the NHL is expected Thursday afternoon, while players are of the believe that Thursday night's playoff games will be postponed.