Matt Dumba becomes the first NHL player to kneel during the anthem.

Dumba gives a speech before kneeling during the anthem.

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The National Hockey League has had its first player kneel during the playing of the American national anthem and as you would expect it has produced a rather powerful reaction on social media, both positive and negative. 

Strangely enough it was a player who was not participating in the game that took a knee with Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba becoming the first man to kneel during the anthem in the NHL, however he did so prior to a game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks. Dumba was out with the players from both teams prior to the game as part of his role with the Hockey Diversity Alliance, an organization formed by NHL players in an effort to combat racism in the sport, and he gave a speech to the viewing audience prior to the anthem being played ahead of the game. 

When the anthem was set to be played Dumba, who was standing on an outstretched red carpet, was flanked by Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Malcolm Subban, both of whom placed a hand on each of Dumba's shoulders. Presumably this was designed to symbolize unity and if that was indeed the case they did a pretty good job with the 3 men striking quite the pose with the spotlight on top of them. 

As I stated earlier this produced a mix reaction online, here is a look at some of the positive responses:

Not all the reactions were positive however and the source of the negativity varied quite considerably,. Some were critical of Dumba, a Canadian born player, kneeling for the American anthem but not for his own Canadian anthem:

Others were upset that no one else took a knee in solidarity with Dumba:

There were also those who did not appreciate the gesture at all and were highly critical of Dumba and the NHL:

Needless to say there were some far more vitriolic responses to this moment that we will not be sharing with you today due to some of the language used, but I'm sure your imagination can do the rest. This has obviously been a highly controversial issue in the sports world for some time, so we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.