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Sports NHL to honor Black Lives Matter, frontline workers with #WeSkateFor initiative

20:18  31 july  2020
20:18  31 july  2020 Source:   thescore.com

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The NHL announced it will show support for Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements when the postseason begins Saturday.

Players will wear "#WeSkateFor Equality" helmet decals and receive sweaters to customize with the hashtag and the name of a person or movement they are representing.

#WeSkateForBlackLives will also be displayed on digital screens and seat coverings at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto and Rogers Place in Edmonton.

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The initiative is also intended to honor frontline workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We believe in terms of focusing on the need to combat racism and to also pay tribute to the responders from the medical community of COVID-19, we think we'll be paying the appropriate respect and focusing on, particularly, social justice," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told NBC News' Craig Melvin on Friday. "That is something that is a priority for us going forward."

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane, who is the co-head of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, ripped the league Thursday for its social justice efforts thus far.

"The NHL can put 'Black Lives Matter' all over the rink, shout 'Black Lives Matter' from the mountains," Kane said. "No matter what they do or say, it's all going to fall on deaf ears with me and every other person in the HDA because the league has made no effort to support its own Black players."

Evander Kane: NHL 'has made no effort to support its own Black players'

  Evander Kane: NHL 'has made no effort to support its own Black players' Since the Hockey Diversity Alliance formed a bit over a month ago, Evander Kane says the group has been unable to find common ground with the NHL in its discussions. "The NHL can put ‘Black Lives Matter’ all over the rink, shout ‘Black Lives Matter’ from the mountains,” the San Jose Sharks forward said, according to TSN's Frank Seravalli. "No matter what they do or say, it’s all going to fall on deaf ears with me and every other person in the HDA because the league has made no effort to support its own Black players.”Kane, Akim Aliu, Trevor Daley, Anthony Duclair, Matt Dumba, Nazem Kadri, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart, and Joel Ward all helped create the organization.

Colorado Avalanche forward and HDA member Nazem Kadri also criticized the league this week for its lack of action.

"From a league standpoint, I think we'd like to maybe see a little more acknowledgment and having them address the situation and know that they stand with their players," he said.

Kadri and teammate Pierre-Edouard Bellemare stood side by side in solidarity with Minnesota Wild players Matt Dumba and Jordan Greenway during the anthems before the two teams squared off in an exhibition game Wednesday. All four players are racial minorities.

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