Matt Dumba

Reaves, Seguin, Lehner, Dickinson kneel during anthem before Stars – Golden Knights

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Two Golden Knights (Ryan Reaves and Robin Lehner) and two Stars (Tyler Seguin and Jason Dickinson) decided to kneel during both anthems before the teams’ round-robin game on Monday.

This comes after other noteworthy moments where NHL players made statements against racism, particularly Wild defenseman Matt Dumba.

After the Golden Knights’ 5-3 win against the Stars, Seguin explained his decision to kneel.

“I was giving it a lot of thought in the last 24 hours about what to do. I talked to Reaves during warmups. He said he saw what I was doing in Dallas, and that him and Lehner were going to kneel, and asked if I’d like to join them. So I told them I’d join them,” Seguin said, via ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. “Before the game, I went into the dressing room and told everyone what I was doing. Told them there was absolutely no pressure to do anything. Dickinson grabbed me and said he’d like to be a part of it, and support his beliefs and my beliefs.”

Reaves and Lehner added their own thoughts after the contest:

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

More on Stars, Golden Knights, and Dumba kneeling during anthems

Wild defenseman Matt Dumba made a passionate speech before Game 1 of Blackhawks – Oilers on Saturday, then kneeled during the U.S. national anthem. Dumba also raised his fist during the national anthem before his own Wild’s win against the Canucks on Sunday.

As you can read more about here, Dumba said that he regretted only kneeling for the U.S. national anthem, rather than both anthems. In this latest case, Reaves, Lehner, Seguin, and Dickinson kneeled for both anthems before Stars – Golden Knights.

The Golden Knights also tweeted about their players kneeling:

While the Stars shared a similar (if shorter) sentiment:

Along with Dumba, Lehner, Reaves, Seguin, and Dickinson, other teams made statements of their own. Members of the Nashville Predators wore “Black Lives Matter” shirts before Game 1 against the Coyotes on Sunday.

Members of the Bruins wore a variety of shirts along similar lines, while Maple Leafs players made similar gestures early in the NHL Return to Play.

During the end of his passionate speech, Dumba hoped that the Hockey Diversity Alliance and other measures might inspire others in the future.

“I hope this inspires a new generation of hockey players and hockey fans,” Dumba said. “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.”

It seems like Dumba and others managed to inspire peers, including Reaves and Lehner of the Golden Knights and Seguin and Dickinson of the Stars.

Read more about the Hockey Diversity Alliance here, and at their website. The NHL also recently announced its #WeSkateFor initiative, which you can learn more about here.

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.

Matt Dumba on kneeling for U.S. anthem, speaking out against racism

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Matt Dumba stood at center ice before Game 1 of Blackhawks-Oilers and delivered a passionate speech about social justice and fighting racism that concluded with the following message:

“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.”

Moments before, nerves were getting to him as he waited inside Edmonton’s Rogers Place.. This was a huge moment for him and the NHL. Luckily for the Wild defenseman, teammates Jonas Brodin and Alex Galchenyuk were there to calm him down.

“If you’ve got the nerves to handle this, nothing can stop you tomorrow or in this playoff run,” Galchenyuk told him.

The 26-year-old Dumba then took a breath and recited the speech he’d memorized and practiced all week. He then became the first NHL player to take a knee during the U.S. national anthem. Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and Blackhawks goalie Malcolm Subban stood with him with a hand placed on each shoulder.

“All the strength that it took to do it, it came from all the people who have supported me along the way,” Dumba said Sunday morning ahead of Game 1 against the Canucks. “My family, got to thank them, and especially the members at the [Hockey Diversity Alliance]. Hearing those guys’ stories and everything we talk about has given me the courage to do the things that I’ve done.”

The only thing Dumba said he would change is he would kneel for the Canadian national anthem as well.

“To be honest, I kind of froze up,” said Dumba, who is on the executive committee of the Hockey Diversity Alliance. “I know why I knelt. It wasn’t a sign of disrespect by any means. It was to shed light on the people who have lived through the injustice and oppression, especially in my home state of Minnesota. That’s why I did it. I think my biggest regret is not doing it for the Canadian national anthem, as well, because there is a lot of light that needs to be shed on what is happening in Canada and the oppression First Nations people have felt for hundreds of years. I was disappointed looking back on it because, like I said, I knew the reasons why I knelt. Just in the moment it happened like that.”

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Going forward, Dumba said, he will raise his fist when both anthems are played. The decision was made after speaking with J.T. Brown, who raised his fist three years ago before a game while with the Lightning.

“If I’m not in the starting lineup, I might be on the bench and if I take a knee on the bench, they might not even be able to see me,” Dumba said.

A message to the haters

There were plenty of positive and negative responses to Dumba’s speech and kneeling during the U.S. anthem. But those dismissing what he and the HDA are fighting for help him want to continue to deliver the message.

“Keep it coming,” said Dumba, the Wild’s 2020 King Clancy Trophy nominee. “It kind of sheds a light on them and the people that follow them. Their friends, their family, can see their beliefs and how they view the world and see the negative light that they’re trying to shed on this. For all the people who have the courage in their fingertips sitting behind a keyboard, I know half the stuff you wouldn’t say to my face if I was standing right in front of you.

“All that stuff is what it is. I’ve kind of been laughing at it because I know the people that mean the most to me, all those people have reached out to me and commended me for what I’ve done, and believe in me and support that.”

MORE:
Dumba on Hockey Diversity Alliance, getting advice from Kaepernick
Wild, NHL donate $100,000 to Matt Dumba’s ‘Rebuild Minnesota’ initiative

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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.

NHL Training Camp News: Crosby practices; Habs’ Kulak tested positive for COVID-19

Sidney Crosby practicing with the Penguins and Canadiens defenseman Brett Kulak discussing testing positive for COVID-19 ranked among the biggest NHL training camp news on Friday. There are plenty of other tidbits, however, so let’s roll through various NHL training camp news.

[2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule / NHL on NBC TV schedule]

Habs’ Kulak discusses testing positive for COVID-19

On Thursday, we heard from Canadiens defenseman Xavier Ouellet (as well as Winnipeg’s Anthony Bitetto) about his experiences testing positive for COVID-10. It turns out that Ouellet wasn’t the only Habs defenseman to test positive.

Defenseman Brett Kulak did as well, as TSN’s John Lu reports.

Kulak told Lu and others that he dealt with headaches, a lack of energy, and breathing issues. On the bright side, Kulak said that he’s feeling back to normal. That’s especially good since, you know, Kulak returned to practicing with his Canadiens teammates.

While Kulak doesn’t contribute a ton of offense (zero goals, seven assists in 57 games this season), he brings some value to the table for Montreal. Good things tend to outweigh the bad when Kulak is on the ice, evidenced by some positive multi-season RAPM results via Evolving Hockey:

Brett Kulak Evo RAPM Chart, NHL training camp news
Brett Kulak multi-season RAPM chart via Evolving Hockey

(Again, just don’t expect Kulak to light up scoreboards.)

Sidney Crosby takes another positive training camp step by practicing with Penguins

It was already promising that Sidney Crosby got back to skating after missing some time. Even so, you had to couch some optimism until Crosby actually skated with Penguins teammates.

That happened on Friday, so don’t blame the Penguins for being excited. Apparently Crosby’s Penguins teammates even celebrated the occasion with some stick taps.

Jason Zucker nails it when he praises the Penguins’ depth, cemented further by Crosby being back. At the moment, it looks like the Penguins will flank Crosby with Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary. Meanwhile, Evgeni Malkin joined wingers Zucker and Bryan Rust. With Patric Hornqvist and other quality forwards in the bottom six, it sure looks like the Penguins can ice a formidable lineup.

(If Crosby and others can stay healthy. That’s sadly always been a big if for this team.)

More NHL training camp news and notes

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.

Wild’s Dumba on Hockey Diversity Alliance, getting advice from Kaepernick

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba appeared on “Lunch Talk Live” to discuss the formation of the Hockey Diversity Alliance. Dumba detailed much of the HDA’s aims to Mike Tirico, while also noting how Dumba and the rest of the alliance received advice from trailblazer Colin Kaepernick.

“Eradicating racism can’t be on the shoulders of seven guys,” Dumba told Tirico.

Indeed, shortly after the Hockey Diversity Alliance released its statement, people were throwing the net out wider.

From hearing Dumba’s account of a zoom call with Kaepernick, it sounds like the seven members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance were in awe of the former(?) NFL QB. While Dumba was vague about specific advice, he noted that Kaepernick emphasized unity, and finding the right ambassadors.

So far, those seven HDA ambassadors include: co-heads Akim Aliu and Evander Kane, along with executive committee members Dumba, Trevor Daley, Joel Ward, Wayne Simmonds and Chris Stewart.

Tirico also covered protests, particularly in the Minnesota communities that serve as a second home for Dumba. Dumba said he wishes he could be there to lend his support; in the meantime, Dumba praised J.T. Brown for helping others in the community.

Dumba noted that more Hockey Diversity Alliance announcements could come soon, so that’s exciting.

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.