BOSTON (CBS) — After shutting down for two days out of protest this week, NHL hockey resumed on Saturday afternoon in Toronto.
Before the puck dropped on Game 4 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins, the NHL addressed the situation with a clear and concise video presentation explaining the league’s goals going forward.
“As we resume play today, the NHL and our players unite in the fight to end racism,” the PA announcer inside Scotia bank Arena said when both teams were on the ice for the national anthem. “We stand together for a common cause that needs action today, tomorrow, and well after our Stanley Cup Playoffs end.”
The video began with a similarly clear message: “In hockey, we often let our effort, determination, and passion to win do the talking. But when an issue is bigger than the game, we must speak out, starting with three words we need to get comfortable saying: Black Lives Matter. Equality is the only way forward. As players, as fans, and as active citizens, we must confront these issues.”
“When an issue is bigger than the game, we must speak up, starting with three words we need to get comfortable saying: Black Lives Matter.”
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 29, 2020
After the NHL’s video concluded, another video appeared on the in-arena video boards, featuring comments from Tampa’s Kevin Shattenkirk and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
Shattenkirk: “I think for us the decision to postpone our games and sit out was viewed as an opportunity to highlight a bigger issue than hockey. We wanted to make sure that every Black player in this league can feel safe and feel like they have a voice. And we want to make sure that we continue this conversation moving forward and make sure that we keep the sport progressing in the right way, as well.”
Bergeron: “It was amazing to see everyone coming together and realizing that this is bigger than sports. It’s about human rights. It’s about supporting our Black players, being there for them and realizing it needs to be changed. And we want to be a part of that change going forward. So this is just the beginning. Obviously we know that there needs to be reflections and discussions and conversations, but there also needs to be actions. And we want to be there for that.”
Marchand: ‘The last number of days have been very impactful, not only for the NHL players but people all over the world. We want to continue to use our platform to show that we stand together with all of our players of color and to continue to show that we’re going to be better. We’re going to continue to show support, and this is only the start. This is the beginning of a lot of change.”