Minnesota Wild defenceman Matt Dumba took to centre ice Saturday afternoon, prior to the start of the Edmonton-Chicago series, to deliver a stirring anti-racism speech broadcast on “Hockey Night in Canada” and NBC Sports.
Tears welling up at times, Dumba was flanked by Chicago backup goalie Malcolm Subban and Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse while the rest of their teammates stood around centre ice at Edmonton’s Rogers Place.
When “The Star-Spangled Banner” played, Dumba knelt. He was only person on the ice to do so.
Here’s an excerpt from his speech:
“During this pandemic, something unexpected but long overdue occurred: The world woke up to the existence of systemic racism, and how deeply rooted it is within our society. For those unaffected by systemic racism, or unaware, I’m sure some of you believe that this topic has garnered too much attention during the last couple of months. But let me assure you it has not.
“Racism is a man-made creation. All it does is deteriorate from our collective prosperity. Racism is everywhere. Racism is everywhere. And we need to fight against it.
“On behalf of the NHL, and the Hockey Diversity Alliance, we vow and promise to stand up for justice and fight for what is right.
“I know firsthand as a minority playing the great game of hockey the unexplainable and difficult challenges that come with it. The Hockey Diversity Alliance and the NHL want kids to feel safe, comfortable and free-minded ever to enter an arena.
“I stand in front of you today, on behalf of those groups, and promise you we’ll fight against injustice and fight for what is right.
“I hope this inspires a new generation of hockey players and hockey fans. Because black lives matter. Breonna Taylor’s life matters. Hockey is a great game, but it can be a whole lot greater, and it starts with all of us.”
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