Matt Dumba is first NHL player to kneel during US National Anthem

Malcolm Subban of the Chicago Blackhawks, left, and Darnell Nurse of the Edmonton Oilers place their hands on Mathew Dumba of the Minnesota Wild during the National Anthem.

(CNN) -- Matt Dumba became the first National Hockey League player to kneel during the US National Anthem on Saturday.

The Minnesota Wild defenseman knelt during Saturday's game between Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks while wearing a Hockey Diversity Alliance hoodie with "Black Lives Matter" written on the sleeves. Dumba, who is Canadian, stood for the Canadian anthem.

"For those unaffected by systemic racism, or unaware, I'm sure that some of you believe this topic has garnered too much attention during the last couple of months. But let me assure you, it has not," Dumba said prior to kneeling. "Racism is everywhere -- and we need to fight against it."

While Dumba is not on either of the teams that played Saturday, he is part of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, an organization that formed in June consisting of seven former and current NHL players. The organization's mission is to "eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey," according to the NHL.

"I know first-hand, as a minority playing of the great game of hockey, the unexplainable and difficult challenges that come with it," Dumba said Saturday.

He added that he hopes his actions and those of the HDA inspire a new generation of hockey players and fans.

"Black Lives Matter. Breonna Taylor's life matters," Dumba said. "Hockey is a great game, but it could be a whole lot greater and it starts with all of us."

Dumba joins a long list of athletes, including LeBron James, Tiger Woods and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, speaking out about police brutality and the fight for Black lives.

CNN's Jabari Jackson contributed to this report.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.