The night after much of the sports world made a loud statement about racial inequality and it was almost business as usual for the NHL playoffs, players met Thursday and decided it was their turn.
The NHL and NHLPA released a statement Thursday afternoon announcing the postponement of one game from each active series.
“After much discussion, NHL players believe that the best course of action would be to take a step back and not play tonight’s and tomorrow’s games as scheduled,” the statement read. “The NHL supports the players’ decision and will reschedule those four games beginning Saturday and adjust the remainder of the second round schedule accordingly.
“We understand that the tragedies involving Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others require us to recognize this moment. We pledge to work to use our sport to influence positive change in society.”
Hockey Diversity Alliance, of which the Colorado Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri is a member, released a statement earlier Thursday stating that it formally requested Commissioner Gary Bettman and the league “suspend all playoff games today to allow players and fans to reflect on what happened and to send a message that human rights must take priority over sport.”
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun tweeted that players in the bubble reached out to fellow members Evander Kane and Matt Dumba, which Kane confirmed. More than 100 players joined a call.
After the announcement, dozens of players from all four teams in the Edmonton bubble gathered around Kadri, teammate Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, the Vegas Golden Knights' Ryan Reaves, the Dallas Stars' Jason Dickinson and the Vancouver Canucks' Bo Horvat while they took questions.
"There is a plan, and moving forward, we want the NHL to understand that this is a partnership, a collaborative effort to create sustainable change," Kadri said. "Moving forward, it's going to have to be the whole league...strength in numbers is key."
The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders were set to play at 5 p.m. and the Canucks and Golden Knights were slated for 7:45.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins, then the Avalanche and Stars were scheduled to play Friday. The NHL website has Colorado playing Sunday and Monday with times to be announced later.
The NHL held a “moment of reflection” Wednesday night before Game 3 between the Bruins and Lightning.