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Maple Leafs wear Black Lives Matter shirts in return to training camp

Players committed to spreading message of equality and social justice for everyone

by Pat Pickens @Pat_Pickens / Staff Writer

The Toronto Maple Leafs made a powerful statement for social justice and equality on Monday when they returned to training camp.

Each Toronto player wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt while working out during Phase 3 of the NHL Return to Play Plan on Monday.

Tweet from @MapleLeafs: It���s a movement not a moment. #BlackLivesMatter

In June the NHL formed the Hockey Diversity Alliance, which wants to eradicate racism in hockey by focusing on youth interaction and by continuing to have NHL players speak out for racial justice following the death of George Floyd on May 25.

"I think what we've realized is that not all of us have had the experiences that people around the world have had," Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly said. "I think this is our small way of keeping the conversation going and really try to acknowledge that this is an ongoing thing. It's going to take a lot of work. We're completely committed to supporting the movement."

The Maple Leafs returned to training camp for the first time since the NHL pause due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic March 12.

Rielly said the Maple Leafs would discuss continuing to wear the shirts even potentially as they resume play with the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I think there's been so much going on in society the past couple of months, and I think for us we want to keep passing on that message," forward Auston Matthews said. "Today I think the team posted 'It's a movement not a moment,' and I think we want to keep spreading that message.

"Just trying to treat everybody equally and try to judge people on their heart and their character, not by their race."

- staff writer Mike Zeisberger contributed to this report.

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