A day after players in other major sports leagues decided to not play to demand an end to racial injustice, the NHL canceled its Thursday bubble playoff games. A day late and a dollar short, so giving the NHL any praise for this is sorta like rewarding a puppy for peeing on the kitchen linoleum instead of your living room carpet.
Earlier today, I wrote that you can take this to the bank: Not a single player in the bubble in Toronto or Edmonton will sit out of a game to demand an end to racial injustice or say that there are things more important than hockey going on right now.
Technically that wasn’t wrong, as it was the Hockey Diversity Alliance that called for the league to suspend its games, but it’s so shocking that the NHL would actually listen and do it that I’ll just take the ‘L’ here.
In contrition, I made a donation to Black Girl Hockey Club, one of the best follows on Twitter, @BlackGirlHockey — this is an invitation to consider doing the same.
Game 3s in the Flyers/Islanders (scheduled as a nearly unheard of postseason back-to-back) and Golden Knights/Canucks series were postponed.
Word is that 100 players in the bubble cities were on a call with Diversity Alliance members Evander Kane and Matt Dumba. It’s sort of like a large-scale version of a horribly awkward conversation where a white person DMs their Black friend they haven’t talked to in four years back in late May to talk about George Floyd and racism. Again, it’s the NHL, and any attempt to clear an incredibly low bar is some sort of progress I guess? We’re barely a week removed from Mike Milbury insulting and demeaning women and most of the hockey world shrugging.
As far as concrete steps the league, its players, coaches and owners can make to affect real change, here are some ideas:
- Hire minorities.
- Donate money.
- Deal with racists like the ones who abused Akim Aliu instead of hoping it just goes away.
- Maybe burn a Logan Couture jersey for fun.