In the span of a week and a half, Matt Dumba has seen firsthand both the progress the NHL has made and the work still left to be done.
As a member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, an organization founded last year with the goal of eradicating racism from the sport, Dumba proudly sported customized tape on his stick before the Jan. 8 game against the Washington Capitals. His teammates followed suit during warmups.
It was a part of the #TapeOutHate campaign put on by the Hockey Diversity Alliance in conjunction with Budweiser Canada. The hope is to inspire change at a grassroots level with words like “RACISM HAS NO PLACE IN HOCKEY” plastered on the tape itself.
“We are so grateful and humbled that we are getting this type of response,” Dumba said. “It’s super cool to see. To have white players’ support is huge because of demographics and how the game is.”
But Dumba witnessed the other side of the spectrum on Jan. 17 after a game against the Colorado Avalanche. In that game, his teammate Jordan Greenway inadvertently ran goaltender Darcy Kuemper, a sequence that angered opposing fans.
On the bus after the game, Dumba sat alongside Greenway as various racial slurs flooded his direct messages on social media.
“We are sitting on the bus, like, ‘Look at how stupid this is. This is ridiculous,’ ” Dumba said. “That’s how real it is every day.”