Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler couldn’t accept staying silent as protesters reacted to the tragic death of George Floyd, including in Minnesota, where he grew up. So Wheeler spoke up with heartfelt tweets, sharing his support for protesters, while condemning “senseless violence and racism.” Wheeler continued that conversation with Mike Tirico on “Lunch Talk Live.”
Wheeler on tweets supporting protesters, shares ways to help
“By staying silent, you’re not helping” Wheeler said.
With that in mind, Wheeler pleads that as many people should speak up as possible. (You can see some of the responses from NHL players here. P.K. Subban stands out, in particular, by combining with the NHL to make a $100K donation.)
Wheeler told Tirico that, for the most part, responses have been positive to his message. Granted, Wheeler admits that as a busy father, he doesn’t necessarily have time to “comb” through every response. Which … good for him, really.
I needed to say something in my own words. pic.twitter.com/VpkidaMjbX
— Blake Wheeler (@BiggieFunke) May 31, 2020
Going further, Wheeler followed up that tweet with an Instagram message detailing how he’s been donating to various causes.
View this post on Instagram
Sam and I have been using this time to educate ourselves and our kids. We’ve been reading, watching, and listening. There are a ton of great organizations out there that could use our help right now. Here are a few that my family has supported over the past week: The Official George Floyd Memorial Fund through @gofundme , Neighbors United Funding Collaborative through @givemn which helps the cleanup and rebuild of the Hamline Midway Neighborhood in Minneapolis, American Civil Liberties Union @aclu_nationwide , Minnesota Freedom Fund @mnfreedomfund , and @visitlakestreet which helps in the rebuild and cleanup of Lake St in Minneapolis. @barackobama shared some great educational pieces that we are reading through and everyone should check out if you can https://www.obama.org/anguish-and-action/ #blackouttuesday
David Yu shares links for some of Wheeler’s recommendations, if that makes it easier:
Links to the organizations @BiggieFunke listed in his IG post:
George Floyd Memorial Fund – https://t.co/IxL5yBf4ke
Neighbors United – https://t.co/gmb1I8Paqc@ACLU – https://t.co/dvf4ypFYRj@MNFreedomFund – https://t.co/jhYEVvA0jd@VisitLakeStreet – https://t.co/mEsUYOjEmQ
— David Yu @🏠 (@yuorme) June 2, 2020
Wheeler on Flames vs. Jets
Tirico and Wheeler also talked hockey, naturally.
When asked about the Jets facing the Flames in the Qualifying Round, Wheeler notes that the two teams only faced off once during the regular season. To make things even less familiar, Wheeler also points out that the only game against Calgary was an outdoor contest, making it almost seem like an “exhibition.”
So, the Jets didn’t get the greatest feel for the Flames. Then again, with how disruptive the pandemic ended up being, such data would only be so useful anyway, right?
(Interestingly, Wheeler mentioned that he remembers Flames interim head coach Geoff Ward as an assistant with the Bruins. Kudos to Wheeler for remembering his Bruins days, honestly.)
Maybe most interestingly, Wheeler told Tirico that he’s one of the lucky players who’s been able to skate. Wheeler, 33, has been able to link up with Adam Oates for some training in Florida.
Might that help Wheeler gain a stride or two on others hoping to get in game shape? It couldn’t hurt. Check out that interview in the video above this post’s headline.