Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild became the first player in the National Hockey League to kneel during the U.S. national anthem prior to Saturday’s game in which the Chicago Blackhawks took on the Edmonton Oilers.
While Dumba did not play in the game, he represented the Hockey Diversity Alliance and wore a hoodie with “Black Lives Matter” written on the sleeves.
The alliance was created in June by seven former and current NHL players, including Dumba, whose mission is to “eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.”
“For those unaffected by systemic racism or unaware, I’m sure that some of you believe this topic has garnered too much attention during the last couple of months,” Dumba said Saturday. “But let me assure you, it has not. Racism is everywhere, and we need to fight against it.”
The Canadian defenseman, who is of Filipino and European decent, was the only person who knelt in the rink before Saturday’s game.
“I know firsthand, as a minority playing of the great game of hockey, the unexplainable and difficult challenges that come with it,” he said. “Black Lives Matter. Breonna Taylor’s life matters. Hockey is a great game, but it could be a whole lot greater and it starts with all of us.”
Dumba stood for the Canadian national anthem.