Matt Dumba gives emotional speech against racism before Blackhawks – Oilers

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The NHL shared a presentation against racism before Game 1 of Blackhawks – Oilers. That video wasn’t the highlight though. Instead, Wild defenseman Matt Dumba provided the most powerful moment with a heartfelt speech calling for more action against racism — in hockey and beyond.

Dumba shared his emotional perspective as a key member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance.

“Hockey is a great game, but it can be a whole lot greater … and it starts with all of us,” Dumba said as part of his powerful speech.

Following his speech, Matt Dumba kneeled during the U.S. national anthem while Blackhawks goalie Malcolm Subban and Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse put their hands on Dumba’s shoulders.

Credit Dumba for showing incredible courage. He made that speech by himself, on a national scale.

Akim Aliu and Evander Kane serve as the co-founders of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, with Dumba, Trevor Daley, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart, and Joel Ward serving as members of the executive committee. The Hockey Diversity Alliance formed in June, stating their goal is “to eradicate racism and intolerance” in hockey.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Here is Dumba’s full speech:

“I’d like to say thank you to all the fans watching at home, and all the people making a positive difference in the world right now. We appreciate you. I know none of us have to be reminded right now about how our day to day lives have been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. So I hope this Stanley Cup Playoffs can bring a little normality and peace of mind to these times of uncertainty.

“I’ll transition to a topic that’s very important to me, my fellow members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance and the NHL. During this pandemic, something unexpected but long overdue occurred. The world woke up to the existence of systematic racism and how deeply rooted it is in our society. For those unaffected by systematic racism or are unaware, I’m sure some of you believe that this topic has garnered too much attention these last couple of months. But let me assure you that it has not. Racism is a manmade creation. All it does is deteriorate from our collective prosperity. 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 first-hand, 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 every time they enter the arena.

“So I stand in front of you today, on behalf of those groups, and promise you that we will 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 could be a whole lot greater. And it starts with all of us.”

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.