There is absolutely no shot national anthem protests will sweep across the NHL.
National anthem protests might be raging like wildfire in the NFL right now, but anybody hopeful the NHL is next on the protest list should slow down their optimism.
NHL stars P.K. Subban and Auston Matthews have both already come out and said they won’t be kneeling, and I fully expect their voices to represent the vast majority of the league.
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) September 27, 2017
Auston Matthews says he isn’t the type to kneel during an anthem. Says he considers it a “dishonour” to those who “fight for that flag.”
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) September 25, 2017
There are a couple reasons why mass national anthem protests in the NHL are about as likely as me dating Emma Watson by the end of the week. First, only a quarter of the NHL is actually American. The vast majority of the league is comprised of players from Canada and Europe. I find it really hard to believe Russians and Canadians are going to go out of their way to protest America. Foreign players work their entire lives to get to America for an NHL contract. They are very aware of how lucky and fortunate they are to be here.
Secondly, hockey players pride themselves on not being bigger than the team or a distraction. It’s why NHL players revel in the reputation of being the toughest and yet most humble kid on the block. They play hurt all the time. Not because it’s smart but because it’d be an embarrassment not to play. It’s a failure as a teammate.
Whether you agree or disagree with the protests, there is no doubt they’re a distraction. That alone will stop players from participating because they don’t want to break the unwritten rules of being larger than the team.
I’m sure lots of people are super excited at the idea of protests engulfing all the pro leagues, but it flat out won’t happen in the NHL.