Some sports ready to return, but other schedules remain murky in week of protests

Some sports ready to return, but other schedules remain murky in week of protests
Vancouver Canucks / Twitter
A view of the NHL players from the Western Conference bubble, standing in solidarity as they protested Thursday's games.

The professional sports schedule is expected to start getting busier on Friday after a string of postponements over the past two days, but it won’t fully return to its current normal just yet.

While the NBA has said it hopes to resume its playoffs on Saturday in the aftermath of a few gameless days at the league’s bubble at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, however no firm schedule is on the table.

The Eastern Conference semifinal opener between the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics needs to be rescheduled after being called off Thursday. The Raptors were also one of at least three teams to cancel planned media sessions on Friday as they awaited clarity on the NBA’s situation.

As part of a return to play, the NBA has agreed to establish a social justice coalition, to use league arenas as voting sites for November’s general election in the United States and to promote voting information through advertising during the playoffs.

The Milwaukee Bucks triggered two days of cancellations by refusing to take the court Wednesday to protest social and racial injustice in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Wisconsin last weekend.

The NHL, meanwhile, will have a second straight day without games on Friday before it resumes its playoff schedule on Saturday with three games in Toronto and Edmonton.

The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning kick things off Saturday at 12 p.m. ET with Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal in Toronto. The New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers square off in Game 4 of their series on Saturday night in Toronto, and the Vancouver Canucks face the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal in the final game of the night in Edmonton.

Reports came out on Thursday that players on the Vancouver Canucks had reached out to current playoff opponent, Ryan Reaves with the Vegas Golden Knights, in order to spearhead a conversation that ultimately resulted in the postponement of games.

“The conversation started with white players on other teams wanting to talk,” Reaves said. “I think that’s the most powerful thing that happened today, and now you see us all coming together, all opponents here.”

“It was an important decision and the right decision to make,” said Canucks captain Bo Horvat on Thursday.

The Vancouver Canucks organization also issued a statement on Thursday that said the team was “100 per cent supportive” of the players’ decision to not play.

The NHL has released their new schedule following the postponements and the Vancouver Canucks will now play back-to-back over the weekend with Game 4 scheduled for Sun, Aug 30 at 7:30 p.m. PT.

Major League Baseball returns for Jackie Robinson Day on Friday, honouring the man who broke the colour barrier in the sport after 10 postponements the past two days.

Tennis also returns after play was postponed yesterday. Canadian Milos Raonic is in semifinal action at the Western & Southern Open in New York.

A Major League Soccer game in Montreal between the Impact and Toronto FC is scheduled for Friday night after five of the league’s last six games were postponed on Wednesday.

The WNBA also resumes tonight with three games after postponing games the past two days at its bubble in Bradenton, Fla.

Kayla Alexander of Milton, Ont., and Bridget Carleton of Chatham, Ont., will play for the Minnesota Lynx against the Atlanta Dream in the first game on Friday night.

With files to Canadian Press.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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