Down two goals heading into the third period, the Vegas Golden Knights scored a hotly-disputed goal with 5:13 remaining to give them the lead on route to a 5-3 Western Conference round-robin victory over the Dallas Stars.
Golden Knights forward William Carrier collided with Ben Bishop above the crease, causing the Stars goalie to lose his stick. Carrier was then able to control the puck and launch a backhand into a yawning net. A goal was declared after a lengthy review.
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) August 4, 2020
The win by the Golden Knights was only part of the story on this Monday evening.
Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba was the first player to do so Saturday. Prior to puck-drop of the Stanley Cup Qualifier between the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers, Dumba gave a speech on behalf of the Hockey Diversity Alliance highlighting systemic racism, inequality, injustice, and oppression in society.
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Dumba also raised his fist, a symbol of speaking out against racial injustice, during the anthems Sunday when the Wild faced the Vancouver Canucks.
Reaves and Lehner spoke to Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer and General Manager George McPhee to discuss their intention of kneeling during the anthems.
We are united in the fight for racial equality.
We support our players and all those who peacefully seek to inspire change and raise awareness against racial injustice. pic.twitter.com/iA7CvGX1eA
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) August 3, 2020
“We gave full support. Both guys approached me and George (GM George McPhee) in the last 48 hours. They kind of expressed how important it was for them. We gave them our full support in their right to do that,” said DeBoer.
Reaves explained his thought process in doing so post-game. “I talked to my brother quite a few times, not so much my dad. My brother is very passionate about the subject. I talked to him a bunch, Lenny (Robin Lehner), my teammates. I think it was a decision that was made today.”
Reaves cleared up any issue of disgracing the US flag, “I just want to say in no way am I trying to disrespect the flag or people who have fought for this country. I have the utmost respect for everybody who has gone over and fought and died for the freedom of this country. Bill Foley, one of our owners, is one of the best guys I’ve met. He’s a military guy, so that’s not the message I’m trying to send.”
“But at the same time, those people go across seas, and they go to war – families are torn apart for the freedom of our country, only to come back and find out this country is free to everybody. I think that’s where I’m coming from. Not everybody is truly free in this country. It’s starting to come to light right now. It’s kind of blown up in the last year. That’s kind of where I’m coming from,” Reaves conveyed.
Robin Lehner has become a beacon for supporting mental health and is not one to hold back his inner feelings, especially when it comes to his past.
“I did a mistake once. I put a Trump sticker on my mask. It’s something I regret now. I see how divisive things have been. At the end of the day, this is not politics. It’s about human rights. It’s not about politics. I’ve been a part of a conversation. Everyone is talking about conversation, education, listening. It’s time to start doing something, not just let this be a new cycle – forget about it and do it all over again. Everyone should have the same chance in society. Everyone should be the same,” the 29 year-old acknowledged.
“I’ve seen a lot growing up. My family is of colour. What I’ve seen and how things are, disgust me. At the end of the day I love America – but there’s a bunch of things that need to be corrected. It’s not just up to me, it’s about willingness. It’s time for white’s to step into battle with our brothers and sisters, and make this change.”
Stars Tyler Seguin who previously marched in protest for Black Lives Matter in Dallas also wanted to support Reaves.
“I was giving it a lot of thought in the last 24 hours, as to what to do, and I talked to Reaves in warmups. He said, he kind of saw what I was doing with in Dallas. And he said he and Lehner were going to kneel. And if I wanted to do it, I could to join them. I said absolutely, so I joined them. Before the game I went into the dressing room and told everyone what I was doing. Obviously, I told everyone there was absolutely no pressure to do anything. (Jason) Dickinson grabbed and said he liked to be a part of it to support his beliefs and my beliefs. It was great to have him there as well.”
Follow Murray Pam on Twitter @pammerhockey