Wild’s Dumba gives powerful anti-racism speech as NHL returns to play

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba gave a powerful speech as they NHL retsumed play after a months-long pause due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dumba and the Wild are in the NHL’s Western Conference "bubble" in Edmonton, where the first game played Saturday afternoon was between the hometown Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dumba took center ice and gave his nearly three-minute speech. He also knelt during the National Anthem, while Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse and Chicago’s Malcolm Subban – also minority players – placed their hands on Dumba’s shoulders.

"For those unaffected by systemic racism, or unaware, I’m sure that some of you believe that this topic has garnered too much attention during the last couple months. But let me assure you, it has not," Dumba said.

Dumba is one of several minority hockey players who have formed the Hockey Diversity Alliance which will work with the NHL to battle racism in hockey.

"On behalf of the NHL and the Hockey Diversity Alliance, we vow and promise to stand up for injustice and fight for what is right," Dumba said. "I know firsthand as a minority playing the great game of hockey, the unexplainable challenges that come with it.

"The Hockey Diversity Alliance and NHL want kids to feel safe, comfortable and free-minded every time they enter an arena. I stand in front of you today on behalf of those groups and promise you that we will fight against injustice and fight for what is right."

He concluded his speech saying, "I hope this inspires a new generation of hockey players and hockey fans. Black Lives Matter, Breonna Taylor’s life matters. Hockey is a great game, but it could be a whole lot greater, and it starts with all of us."

Dumba is in his seventh season with the Wild, who open their playoff elimination series against Vancouver on Sunday in Edmonton.