Flyers-Islanders postponed as NHL joins other pro leagues in stand against police brutality

UPDATE [Friday, 10:10 a.m.] — After postponing all NHL games on Thursday and Friday, the NHL has announced their updated Stanley Cup playoff schedule. Here’s a look at when the Flyers will now play:


FROM EARLIER

There are work stoppages and walkouts taking place across the sports world as the nation continues to grapple with its ongoing police violence crisis. But don’t tell that to Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault as he and his team prepare for a crucial Game 3 against the Islanders. 

You can say that’s what you want out of your head coach when he’s trying to prepare his team for an important Eastern Conference semifinal game. It’s also easy to forget that sports are entertainment, a game played by grown men that distracts us from our own problems. But some problems are too big to be ignored, and this is certainly one of them.

There are plenty of professional teams placing recent events ahead of (or at least alongside) their sports. Just compare Vigneault’s comments to that to what’s going on in his opponents’ locker room. 

But soon, Vigneault might not have a choice but to pay attention. 

On Thursday afternoon, reports started to trickle out of the two NHL bubbles that they might join the NBA and several MLB teams in their protests over racial injustice — specifically the police shooting of unarmed black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc. — by canceling their playoff games.

The Hockey Diversity Alliance, comprised of current NHL players with a mission to end racial exclusion and intolerance at all levels of the game, put pressure on the league to postpone play on Thursday. It appears the NHL is listening. 

Not even an hour later, the NHL and its players reportedly voted to postpone Thursday night’s games.

There is no word yet on when games will resume and how the schedule for the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs will be impacted.


UPDATE [5:12 p.m.] — According NHL reporter John Shannon, the NHL will resume play on Saturday. The Flyers were already schedule to play Game 4 of their series that day, so there’s a good chance they’ll be one of the teams in action the first day play resumes.

The NHL has still not made any formal announcement about Thursday and Friday’s games officially being postponed. We’ll provide you with an update when it becomes available.

UPDATE [6:00 p.m.] — An hour before the Flyers and Islanders were scheduled to take the ice, the NHL officially announced the postponement of Thursday and Friday night’s games. While they didn’t yet announce when they would be rescheduled for, they said the four postponed games (two on Thursday and two on Friday) would begin being made up on Saturday. 

The Flyers also released a statement of their own. 


On Wednesday, the Bucks-Magic game was the first domino to fall, as Milwaukee players didn’t take the court as a form of protest over the shooting of Blake in their home state. A night earlier, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois, drove to Kenosha with an assault rifle and shot several protesters, killing two, and was allowed to leave the area and return home before police arrested him without incident. This came at protests stemming from Blake being shot seven times in the back by Kenosha police, in front of his children and fiancé, and being left paralyzed from the waste down. 

Following the Bucks decision not to play, the Magic also walked off the court in Orlando, and soon the entire NBA had agreed to postpone the playoffs. No games were played on Wednesday, and on Thursday morning they voted to postpone that day’s games as well. 

Several MLB teams joined in the protests on Wednesday night, including the Milwaukee Brewers, who play in Wisconsin, and the Seattle Mariners, who have more black players than any other MLB team. The Phillies still played their game against the Nationals, but they also cancelled their game on Thursday. 

In the NFL, the Lions cancelled their practice on Wednesday, and by Thursday morning, several NFL teams, including the Packers, Colts, Jets, Titans and others, had cancelled their practices on Thursday. 


UPDATE [4:51 p.m.] — The Phillies and Nationals released a joint statement on Thursday afternoon about the players’ decision to postpone the game.

They also hosted a joint press conference at 4:45 p.m. with both managers and player representatives from each team.

This story is developing… 


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