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Lightning Round: How hockey is responding to anti-racism protests

Including statements from Bolts forward Mathieu Joseph, and former players JT Brown, and Brian Boyle.

New Wild player J.T. Brown knows who he is and who he isn’t
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s J.T. Brown protests during the national anthem before the start of a game against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on October 7, 2017.
Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

I’m sure you’ve all read what’s going on in the news. People across the country are calling for racial justice reform following the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Racism has been an issue brought to hockey’s attention several times recenty. Most notably, J.T. Brown’s peaceful protest before a Tampa Bay Lightning game, racist taunts from Chicago fans at Devante Smith-Pelly, the Bill Peters fallout following Akim Aliu’s story, and K’Andre Miller’s Zoom call with a racist fan. These are the moments that come to the top of my head, there are many more.

In times like these, it is important for those with a voice to amplify and make heard the people who are being ignored. Some teams and players in the NHL have understood the importance of shedding light to this injustice and have shared statements and stories, while unfortunately most have not.

Among the teams that have shared statements include Anaheim, Arizona, Calgary, Colorado, Los Angeles, Minnesota (kind of), Nashville, New Jersey, San Jose, Toronto, Vegas, and Washington. Their statements have been linked with their names.

Among the franchises that have not (yet) released team statements against racial injustice include Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Montreal, both the New York Islanders and Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.

As for the players, of the close-to 800 players in the NHLPA, the following have released personal statements and are joining the fight against racism in and out of the sport. Akim Aliu, Mathieu Joseph, Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler, JT Brown, Logan Couture, Kurtis Gabriel, Connor Carrick, Brian Boyle, Anze Kopitar, Nick Foligno, Anthony Duclair, Kyle Turris, Daniel Carcillo, PK Subban, Auston Matthews, and Kevin Weekes. Their statements have been linked with their names. This Twitter list also shows players who have also retweeted statements.

Meanwhile, a few other players have shared statements from their sponsors. Zdeno Chara, Morgan Rielly, Mitch Marner, and Mark Scheifele are the ones I could find.

The PWHPA and CAA Hockey (the player agency) have also released statements against racial discrimination.

Furthermore, former Lightning prospect Tony DeAngelo and teammate Brendan Lemieux are starting a podcast he claims will “push the ‘Politically Correct’ boundary, while also being “not political,” the Rangers twitter account retweeted the announcement, but later took it back. Jack Eichel shared a tweet on Instagram criticizing the protesters.

The NHL also released a statement, as well as shared those from their players and teams.

I’ll share some of the most impactful statements and stories that I found from NHL players. The “must read” ones, if you will.

I’ve seen a real ground-swell of support from everyone in the community. Not just silent support, but loud advocating. Hopefully we see a positive change to society, especially hockey.

Lightning Links

  • Erik Erlendsson will no longer be on the Power Lunch show as his contract with the network expired. Hoping he gets picked up again when hockey is back.
  • Pierre LeBrun has this article out at The Athletic on the NHL’s conditional draft pick trade rulings.
  • Remember when Niagara IceDogs goaltender Tucker Tynan suffered a gruesome injury in a game back in December? Google it if you’re not queasy. Well, he just had his pads delivered to his home, looks like he’s ready to lace ‘em up again.
  • This is a funny story. Elite Prospects has an incredible vetting team. Nothing gets past them.