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NHL players are individualistic and uneducated; it showed yesterday

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For years NBA players have been organizing themselves. When they needed to organize themselves on social issues, they had the groundwork in place. NHL players have a long way to go, but today was a start.

Dallas Stars v Vegas Golden Knights - Game One Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL and NHLPA were under rightful fire last night for not postponing their games after the NBA, MLB, and MLS all did so. Not only did this expose most NHL players immense privilege, but it also showed how poorly organized the players are overall.

NBA players are excellent at organizing themselves. They have learned how to take back their power with simple contract moves like sign and trades which allows them to go to the team they want to go to as a free agent while also earning a more team and player friendly salary. That is one point. NBA players have also worked together to organize super teams and other non-protest decisions. NBA players are organized, they are educated in what they deserve as athletes and how they need to be treated. They are willing to stand up and ensure that they are treated properly including being asked to play through injuries or other issues that NHL players are currently pushed on.

The NHL is not like this at all and it shows. While the NBA had a meeting last night to plan going forward, the NHL was still taken aback by the NBA striking. Broadcasters were calling the NHL for playing. I should note that the NBA did not play because the players refused to play. They went on strike. They were not going to play and they forced the league into postponing the games. The players used their power, the power they have honed through dinners to create super team, through collective bargaining sessions, and more to actively for the NBA to bend to their will.

NHL players have never shown that type of unity.

NHL players, not the NHL actually banded together and worked from two different hubs to get their games postponed. I agree with Evander Kane that the NHL is late to the party. However, the Hockey Diversity Alliance, an alliance of players of colour in the NHL, has pointed out that this was the players who were acting and not the league. It was white players reaching out and asking for guidance on a way forward. It should not fall on their Black and racialized peers to guide their response to a human rights issue, they are horribly incapable of moving forward without guidance. And the players in the Hockey Diversity Alliance support the fact that their peers reached out to them for guidance and then made the move themselves.

Going forward the players, not the NHLPA, need to fully support and push for the actions set forth by the Hockey Diversity Alliance for the NHL. NBA players are not united by the NBAPA, but because they work together outside of their union for meaningful changes for themselves. If NHL players start formally backing the work that already existing organizations are doing for the sport and consciously unlearning all the biases and hate they grew up with. They have to do that learning and unlearning themselves and not rely on their racialized teammates to teach them. There are resources that they can access to help themselves learn. After that, they can talk to their peers for different perspectives, but they have to do the heavy-lifting themselves.