Wild's Dumba kneels for US anthem following powerful speech

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba stands among the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks as he presents a powerful speech about racism in hockey prior to the NHL's restart in Edmonton on Saturday

Wild's Dumba gives powerful anti-racism speech as NHL returns to play

"For those unaffected by systematic racism, or unaware, I'm sure that some of you believe that this topic has garnered too much attention during the last couple of months".

J.T. Brown, who raised his right fist during the anthem prior to a game in 2017 when with the Tampa Bay Lightning, said on Twitter he applauded "this great start" from Dumba.

Speaking on behalf of the NHL and the Hockey Diversity Alliance, the defenseman said, "Racism is a man-made creation, and all it does is deteriorate from our collective prosperity".

The Minnesota Wild player who was born in Saskatchewan called on players and fans to fight racism within hockey and beyond. 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.

Hockey has long been a game with a small percentage of Black players, and it subsequently holds a reputation for not always welcoming minority athletes. The Hockey Diversity Alliance and the NHL want kids to feel safe, comfortable and free-minded every time they enter an arena.

Black Lives Matter was also stenciled across the courts at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, while the National Hockey League chose to have the sponsors logos on the Scotiabank ice.

People around the USA have taken to the streets over the past few months after the police-caused deaths of Black man George Floyd in Minneapolis and Black woman Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. "But it could be a whole lot greater and it starts with all of us".

Minnesota's Matt Dumba on Saturday became the first NHL player to kneel during the US national anthem when he did so before the opening playoff game between the Oilers and Blackhawks in Edmonton, Alberta.

Dumba's speech and the NHL's powerful Saturday moment came days after the National Basketball Association had a similar showing of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

In Edmonton, however, the Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks came together at center ice and the words "Listen", "Change" and "End Racism" flashed.

NBA players and coaches knelt and locked arms during the US national anthem as the sport restarted on Thursday, some wearing messages like "Equality", "Education Reform" and "Say Their Names" on the backs of their jerseys.

Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse and Blackhawks goalie Malcolm Subban each put a hand on Dumba's shoulder as he kneeled for a recording of the American anthem. He also attended Edge School before starring for the WHL's Red Deer Rebels and representing Canada at the world junior tournament in 2014.

Dumba and the Wild will be taking on the Vancouver Canucks in a best-of-5 play-in round.

"We're super proud, as a group, of Matt and what he did", Aliu said. Afterward, he received support from around the hockey community.

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