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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.

Go deeper

Nov 24, 2020 - World

Pope Francis meets with NBA players to discuss social justice drive

Pope Francis meets with NBA players and officials from the National Basketball Players Association at the Vatican on Monday. Photo: Vatican Media

Pope Francis met with five NBA players and National Basketball Players' Association officials at the Vatican on Monday to discuss their efforts to address "social and economic injustice and inequality," per an NBPA statement.

Driving the news: The pope, who invited the delegation to the Vatican, spoke in support of nonviolent anti-racism protests following the killing of George Floyd in May, and also in an upcoming book.

10 hours ago - World

Over 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

An injured man is carried away as Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

At least 178 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, Reuters reported late Friday.

The big picture: The clashes come amid growing anger over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions have also escalated in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low — Majority back vaccine proof requirements for travel, schools and work — The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations — Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines.
  5. World: WHO authorizes China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.