In the wake of a deadly anti-Islamic attack in Bo Horvat’s hometown of London, Ont., the Vancouver Canucks captain lamented the "horrible reality" of continuing hate crimes and committed to doing what he can to bring about change.
"We must demand better of ourselves in our interactions at home and in our communities," Horvat wrote in a post shared on social media. "Policy change, acceptance and kindness will help us fix this. I commit to working towards a world where we celebrate our differences and what makes us unique.
"To the victims and their families and friends, we are thinking of you and sending our love."
Four members of a Muslim family were killed on Sunday night in London after a truck hit them while they were out for a walk. One boy, who is nine years old, survived and was hospitalized with serious injuries. London police announced Monday that they believe the attack was intentional and that the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith.
Fellow NHLer and London native Nazem Kadri, who is Muslim and the son of Lebanese parents, expressed his heartbreak earlier this week and also pledged to continue the fight against racism.
“Heartbreaking watching my community of London being terrorized by such a senseless, cowardly act,” Kadri wrote on social media. “We will continue to conquer racism together. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. May love always be stronger than hate.”
Kadri, who is a founding member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, has spoken up about issues of racism in the past. During the bubble playoffs last summer, Kadri and Horvat were among a number of players who voiced support of the Black Lives Matter movement, leading the NHL to pause play for two days to reflect on the work that still needs to be done to eliminate systemic racism.
The OHL's London Knights released a statement Tuesday morning, condemning the attack and showing solidarity with the Muslim community.
"Hatred, bigotry, and prejudice have no place in our city, country, and world," the statement read.
— London Knights (@LondonKnights) June 8, 2021
The NHL also released a statement Tuesday, mourning the loss of life and acknowledging that the fight against racism isn't over.
"Across the NHL, we grieve for the victims of the hate-filled attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont., where four lives were senselessly and tragically taken because of their faith," the NHL statement reads. "Our hearts are with all those affected, and we join the hockey community in standing against hate."
Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, the group that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors among other entities, offered condolences in a statement released Tuesday evening.
"There is no place for hatred in our country or communities and we must all come together to end discrimination in all its forms," the MLSE statement reads. "MLSE is committed to being a voice that helps put an end to prejudice, discrimination and systemic racism."