Photo: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

The National Hockey League postponed four Stanley Cup playoff games scheduled for Thursday and Friday after players on all eight remaining teams decided not to play in response to the Aug. 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Why it matters: The NHL drew criticism for not joining the NBA, WNBA, MLS and some MLB teams in suspending competitions or practices on Wednesday, before the player-led Hockey Diversity Alliance asked the NHL to push pause on games Thursday.

The NHL’s three Wednesday games were played as planned, with the only tribute to Blake occurring during a “moment of reflection” before the Tampa-Boston game in Toronto.

What they're saying: "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 and NHL Players' Association said in a joint statement Thursday afternoon.

  • "Black and Brown communities continue to face real, painful experiences. The NHL and NHLPA recognize that much work remains to be done before we can play an appropriate role in a discussion centered on diversity, inclusion and social justice."
  • "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."

What to watch: "The NHL ... will reschedule those four games beginning Saturday and adjust the remainder of the Second Round schedule accordingly," Thursday's statement read.

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Kendall Baker, author of Sports
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