NHL Calls Off Thursday and Friday Playoff Games Amid Jacob Blake Protests

Hockey league was criticized for playing all of its games Wednesday following boycotts by NBA, WNBA and MLB teams

Last Updated: August 27, 2020 @ 3:31 PM

The NHL has postponed all of its playoff games Thursday and Friday amid the growing sports-led boycotts to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, by a police officer.

“After much discussion, NHL Players believe that the best course of action would be to take a step back and not play tonight’s and tomorrow’s games as scheduled. The NHL supports the Players’ decision and will reschedule those four games beginning Saturday and adjust the remainder of the Second Round schedule accordingly,” the league said in a statement. “We understand that the tragedies involving Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others require us to recognize this moment. We pledge to work to use our sport to influence positive change in society.”

The NHL’s decision comes after the league was criticized over its decision to go ahead with its full slate of games Wednesday following boycotts by NBA, WNBA and a few MLB teams.

The movement began Wednesday when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to come out for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic to protest the shooting of Blake by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which has sparked a new wave of protests against police brutality. After the Bucks’ decision, the NBA moved ahead to postpone all of Wednesday’s games. Though the players have decided to resume the playoffs, Thursday’s games have also been postponed.

Six MLB teams decided they wouldn’t play on Wednesday — leading to the postponement of three games — and Thursday saw multiple NFL teams cancel their practices. Tennis pro Naomi Osaka said she would sit out her semifinal match of the Western and Southern Open. Following Osaka’s decision, the U.S. Tennis Association, Women’s Tennis Association and ATP Tour suspended Thursday’s tournament play.e.

On Sunday, Blake was shot in the back by a police officer seven times while walking away from them after breaking up a fight. Blake reportedly is paralyzed by the gunshot wounds, his family’s attorney told the Associated Press.