Sources: NHL calls off Thursday’s playoff games


The NHL will not play any playoff games Thursday in solidarity with other leagues protesting the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, sources told ESPN.

The decision postpones games between the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers, and the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks.

Sources had told ESPN that the NHL and NHL Players’ Association had been in communication over the past 24 hours, but that the league would not initiate a stoppage unless there was a strong push from the players’ side.

The NHLPA had set a conference call with players Thursday afternoon to get an idea of where they stand. The NHL also postponed several scheduled media availabilities Thursday afternoon.

Earlier Thursday, Hockey Diversity Alliance co-leader Evander Kane put out a formal request from the group for the NHL to suspend all playoff games on Thursday, tweeting, “We strongly feel this sends a clear message that human rights take priority over sports.”

Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times by police Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as he attempted to enter the driver’s side door of his vehicle. Video of the shooting was distributed on social media, sparking more protests and causing more athletes to speak out or take action.

Games in the NBA, MLB, MLS and the WNBA were postponed Wednesday night in protest over racial injustice. The NHL, however, completed its full slate of three playoff games, including the Flyers’ 4-3 victory over the Islanders.

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