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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.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
48 mins ago - Health

Experts fear a bad flu season on top of COVID

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Public health officials are warning that the U.S. may be on the verge of a dangerous double whammy: COVID and flu, spreading simultaneously.

The big picture: The Delta variant is still circulating across the U.S., and the Omicron variant isn't far behind. On top of that, experts see potential warning signs of a bad flu season, which could leave millions of Americans vulnerable and strain health care resources.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."