WATCH: First NHL Player Kneels for U.S. National Anthem, Stands for Canadian Anthem

Minnesota Wild Defenseman Matt Dumba opened the Western Conference Qualifiers with a speech to address systemic racism in hockey.

Dumba the kneeled for the national anthem  ahead of the Oilers and Blackhawks’ Qualifying Round matchup with two of his teammates putting their hands on his shoulder.


Breitbart reports Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild became the first player to kneel for the U.S. national anthem in the National Hockey League (NHL) on Saturday night before the Chicago Blackhawks faced the Edmonton Oilers in Alberta, Canada.

Dumba, who is Canadian, was invited onto the ice for a special ceremony, walking down a red carpet and delivering a speech about racial justice. He knelt for “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but stood for “O, Canada,” the Canadian anthem.

The scoreboard flashed a slogan with a hashtag: “We Skate for Black Lives.”

“During this pandemic, something unexpected, but long overdue, occurred,” Dumba said, during his speech. “The world woke up to the existence of systematic [sic] racism and how deeply rooted it is within our society.”

He added: “Racism is everywhere, and we need to fight against it.”

As he knelt, Blackhawks goalie Malcolm Subban and Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse each put a hand on his shoulders.

The league tweeted out its approval from the official NHL Twitter account.