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Report: NHL postpones Thursday playoff games after players refuse to play

The NHL played games on Wednesday as protests grew across other leagues, but will not play on Thursday. We break down the news.

A general view of the ice is seen before the exhibition game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on July 28, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

UPDATE 2:54 p.m.: The postponements could extend to Friday, according to reporter Eric Engels. He is hearing Friday’s Bruins-Lightning and Stars-Avalanche contests are expected to be postponed.

The NHL has postponed the two Stanley Cup playoff games scheduled for Thursday evening follow the players’ decision to refuse to play, according to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. The decision comes a day after NBA, WNBA, MLB, and MLS players forced their respective leagues to halt a significant number of games in the aftermath of Jacob Blake’s shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

It’s been an unprecedented 24 hours in professional sports. It began with the Milwaukee Bucks refusing to play against the Orlando Magic, and that set the dominos in motion. The other two NBA playoff games were subsequently postponed. That was followed by the Milwaukee Brewers electing not to play Wednesday evening against the Cincinnati Reds, in solidarity with the Bucks. The Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers came to similar decisions and their games against the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants, respectively were postponed.

Additionally, the WNBA players elected not to play after initially planning on in-game moment. The evening wrapped with MLS players forcing their league to postpone five of six games and tennis star Naomi Osaka refusing to play in her Western & Southern Open semifinals matchup.

The NHL played through Wednesday evening, and received significant criticism for the decision. San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane criticized that decision, and announced Thursday afternoon that the Hockey Diversity Alliance was requesting the league suspend Thursday’s playoff schedule.

The planned schedule was for Game 3 of two different series. The Philadelphia Flyers were scheduled to face the New York Islanders in Toronto and the Vegas Golden Knights were set to face the Vancouver Canucks in Edmonton.