Marchand says protests are not political: 'It's about people being equal'
"I think that's one thing that people continually mix up," Marchand told reporters Friday. "They bring politics into these situations and that's not what this is about. We're not being political. That's not the goal and that's not what we're here for.
"There needs to be changes made throughout society," he continued. "It's bigger than hockey right now and it's bigger than sports. It's about people being equal and being the same and being treated the same and it's just about making changes. People want to point in different directions and make it about something that it's not and that's what we want to avoid."
The NHL followed the NBA and other professional sports in postponing games both Thursday and Friday in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Marchand believes that sports are nonessential and should be put on the back burner when it comes to the safety and liberty of individuals.
"Sports is a luxury," he said. "When it becomes about people's safety and people's lives, and people feeling comfortable to be in their own skin, it's much more important than that.
"I understand people want to watch the games, I understand people want to see this, but it's too bad. We have bigger things that we care about and that we want to do and improve upon, and the people we want to support and that's what matters."
At a press conference Thursday, representatives from all Western Conference playoff teams came together while several players of colour, including Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves and Colorado Avalanche forwards Nazem Kadri and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, answered questions about standing up in the face of systemic racism.
Reaves believes the NHL community - which is predominantly white - speaking up and taking action will have a lasting impact going forward.