NHL players being told to prepare for cancellation of Thursday games

New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz discusses the impact that athletes have in the fight for social justice and what he believes they should be doing with their platforms.

NHL players are being told to prepare for the cancellation of Thursday’s playoff games, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The two games on the schedule are Game 3 of the Philadelphia Flyers-New York Islanders second-round series and Game 3 of the Vancouver Canucks vs. the Vegas Golden Knights.

According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Friday’s games could also be postponed.

The report comes on the heels of a public call-to-action from the Hockey Diversity Alliance after the NHL’s initial response to what has been a historic movement across sports fell short.

“We the [HDA] have formally requested the NHL to suspend all playoff games today,” co-head Evander Kane, along with other members of the HDA, said in a statement tweeted out Thursday. “We strongly feel this sends a clear message that human rights take priority over sports.”

By postponing Thursday’s games, the NHL would join other leagues that have done the same at the urging of their athletes.

That movement was initiated by the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday afternoon when they decided not to take the court for their 4 p.m. ET tip-off against the Orlando Magic. Instead, they contacted government officials in Wisconsin and formed a team statement pushing for urgent action in the wake of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old unarmed Black man, being shot by police on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisc.

The NBA postponed that night’s games and later postponed Thursday’s trio of games, too, to raise awareness of crucial societal issues and make room for important conversations about how best to create real and sustainable change. In doing so, they and the rest of the NBA initiated a widespread movement that extended far beyond their Orlando bubble. Athletes from across a number of leagues stood with them — the WNBA, MLS, MLB and pro tennis all postponed action in a showing of solidarity against racial injustice.

The NHL and its players opted to go ahead with Wednesday’s games as scheduled, pausing for a moment of reflection prior to the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins.

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