Ryan Reaves is never shy of speaking boldly.
On Thursday night, it wasn't about hockey, though. It was about something bigger than the game.
The Vegas Golden Knights' bruising winger and veteran spoke in a community press conference at a time when games were supposed to be played. Instead of the playoffs, we saw a postponing of both scheduled postseason games, and several players took to social media and interviews to voice their thoughts.
Thoughts on a heartbreaking situation, that is, being the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake earlier this week by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Though a full investigation of the incident is still in process, players like Reaves, whose team is still in playoff contention, spoke out on the importance of taking a step away from the game in a time like this.
"I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. The statement we’ve made today is something that’s going to last," Reaves said. "These two days aren’t going to fix anything, but the conversations and the statement that has been made are very powerful, especially coming from this league."
Players decision https://t.co/hsdBLO3vId— Nazem Kadri (@43_Kadri) August 27, 2020
"I go to war with these guys and I hate their guts on the ice, but I couldn't be more proud of these guys."
We the @TheOfficialHDA have formally requested the @NHL to suspend all playoffs games today. We strongly feel this sends a clear message to that human rights take priority over sports. We should not stay silent towards systemic racism and any racial inequalities in our society.— Anthony Duclair (@aduclair10) August 27, 2020
The NHL will likely resume its scheduled games on Friday, with an adjustment in place for the teams that were originally slated to play on said day.
Ryan Reaves said he woke up to a text from Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, then another from Canucks captain Bo Horvat.— Justin Emerson (@J15Emerson) August 27, 2020
I think its more powerful thing that it started with white players from other teams wanting to talk."