The new NHL season during the pandemic has begun — and we’re already seeing some changes, as well as some traditions of combat … and the latter ain’t a good look.
Saturday marked the beginning of the 2020 season, which is being played in only two Canadian hub cities — Toronto and Edmonton. Hockey is following in the footsteps of the NBA … which is also being played in a bubble, unlike MLB and soon … the NFL as well.
Anyway, two things of note went down to kick things off — first off, we got our first glimpse of a classic hockey fistfight on the ice … something that’s actually allowed in the sport. Justin Williams and Ryan Strome — of the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers respectively — went at it during their match, coming to blows, until referees eventually broke it up.
Neither guy was wearing a mask — and no, we’re not talking hockey masks or helmets. No distancing either … so yeah, they were puffing particles right at each other, which ain’t safe. On the flip side, they’re all technically quarantined — so perhaps no harm no foul?
At any rate, it was interesting to see … even in the pandemic, old habits die hard in some sports.
Matt Dumba gives a speech and takes a knee during the US National Anthem before the games begin in the Edmonton Hub pic.twitter.com/1DvKAl2Q8Y
Second, we saw the first showing of kneeling for Black Lives Matter — but the gesture didn’t go down en masse. It was just Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild, who gave a speech before the National Anthem was played … and got some shoulder support from two Blackhawks and Oilers players.
Doesn’t look like too many, if any, other players knelt in solidarity. Sorta speaks for itself, really.