Matt Dumba Delivers Powerful Speech on Systemic Racism Before Opening Match of 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs

On Saturday August 1st, the Blackhawks played the Oilers in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Before the match, Matt Dumba of the ‘Hockey Diversity Alliance Group’ and defenceman for the Wild delivered a very powerful speech on systemic racism and how it is embedded in society.  

 Not only did Dumba comment on how prevalent racism is in today’s culture, he also knelt during the anthem of the game; becoming the first NHL player to do so. He also raised his fist for the anthem during his own games. Dumba stated in the speech that “during the pandemic, something unexpected but long overdue occurred … the world woke up to the existence of system racism and how deeply rooted it is within our society.” 

Dumba raises fist during national anthem (Source: Twitter @NHL)

This movement was held regarding the recent examples of social injustices, like the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Dumba intended to raise awareness of social inequality and address the issues of discrimination that occur in modern society. He also made it very clear that it wasn’t only the USA that needed improvements, but other nations too, discussing the First Nations inequality in Canada. 

Racism is very predominant not only in society, but sport too. Hockey is known to be a “white man’s” sport, white players take up 97% of the NHL population. This article recognizes that racism is very widespread not only in society but sport culture as well. Interviews with hockey players were held, through this study it was discovered that racial inequality remains in the sport. Although the NHL has begun to do some work to raise awareness and prevent racism, it still occurs more than we realize. Movements such as Dumba’s are a great way to spread the message, but there is still lots of work to be done.  

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Dumba takes a knee the night he gave a speech on systemic racism before an NHL playoffs game (Source: Jason Franson/AP)

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