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Wild's Dumba regrets not kneeling for Canadian anthem

Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba inspired the hockey world Saturday when he delivered a powerful speech against racism before becoming the first NHL player to kneel for the U.S. anthem.

Dumba, however, says he wishes he stayed on one knee once the Canadian anthem followed.

"To be honest, I kind of froze up," Dumba said, according to NBC Sports' Sean Leahy. "I know why I knelt. It wasn’t a sign of disrespect by any means. It was to shed light on the people who have lived through the injustice and oppression, especially in my home state of Minnesota. That's why I did it.

"I think my biggest regret is not doing it for the Canadian national anthem, as well because there is a lot of light that needs to be shed on what is happening in Canada and the oppression First Nations people have felt for hundreds of years. I was disappointed looking back on it because, like I said, I knew the reasons why I knelt. Just in the moment, it happened like that."

The Regina, Saskatchewan, native said he'll raise his fist during both the U.S. and Canadian anthems going forward.

"If I'm not in the starting lineup, I might be on the bench, and if I take a knee on the bench, they might not even be able to see me," Dumba said.

Dumba, who was the Wild's nominee for the 2020 King Clancy Trophy, embraced the backlash he received on social media and called out those who took issue with his message.

"Keep it coming," said Dumba. "It kind of sheds a light on them and the people that follow them. Their friends, their family, can see their beliefs and how they view the world and see the negative light that they're trying to shed on this.

"For all the people who have the courage in their fingertips sitting behind a keyboard, I know half the stuff you wouldn't say to my face if I was standing right in front of you."

Dumba is part of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, which was created in June by current and former NHL players to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.

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