By Ian Oland
The Washington Capitals announced the details of a new Black Hockey History Display that will remain permanently at Capital One Arena. Capitals fans who attend Washington’s home game against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday will be the first to glimpse it in person.
The display is located on the main concourse by section 116 and features tributes to Stanley Cup champion Devante Smith-Pelly, Joel Ward, Mike Marson, and others.
Per the Capitals, the display includes:
The 11 Black Players featured are Madison Bowey (2017-2019), Devante Smith-Pelly (2017-2019), Joel Ward (2011-2015), Donald Brashear (2006-2009), Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre (2003-2004), Mike Grier (2002-2004), Jason Doig (2002-2004), Anson Carter (1996-97, 2003-04), Reggie Savage (1991-1993), Bill Riley (1974-1979), and Mike Marson (1974-1979).
The key moments panel includes references to DSP’s seven goals during the Capitals’ 2018 Stanley Cup championship run, Joel Ward’s Game Seven series-ending goal against the Boston Bruins in 2012, and Mike Marson’s historic appearance in the Capitals lineup in 1974. Marson was the second Black Player to play in the NHL after Willie O’Ree who first debuted in 1958.
Reaction to the panel amongst the players featured was favorable.
“It’s amazing that they’re acknowledging the Black players that came through the organization with such a great tribute,” Ward said to The Color Of Hockey. “I think it’s great for kids of color to see that. So inspirational. I wish I had something like that when I walked through hockey rinks growing up as a kid.”
Mike Marson added that “It’s nice to be recognized. It’s important to the movement, I think. It’s important to the kids coming up.”
Riley was floored by how the Capitals’ honored its Black alumni “in such a genuine way.”
The display was revealed in a Capitals press release Tuesday morning announcing the team’s plans for Black History Month programming.
As Black Girl Hockey Club board member Fatou Bah said on Twitter, “Representation matters.”
Representation matters. I love that the @Capitals are doing this. Everyone going to @CapitalOneArena needs to know the greatness of Devante @smithpelly23 among others. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 #BlackHistoryMonth @ColorOfHockey https://t.co/Ob1mp4ByPh
— FatouFIERCE (she/her) is Vaccinated 💉💉💉 (@FatouSadio) February 1, 2022
Hockey should not be a sport that features an overwhelming majority of white men. Everyone should feel welcome to play. And this, to me, appears to be another positive step towards that goal.
Here’s the full press release from the Capitals:
Washington Capitals Announce Black History Month Programming
Capitals Unveil Permanent Black Hockey History Display at Capital One Arena;
Black History Night Presented by Capital One to Take Place Feb. 28 vs. TOR, Featuring Special Warmup Jerseys Honoring The Fort Dupont Cannons
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals announced today initiatives surrounding February’s Black History Month that are aligned with the organization’s mission to grow the game and advocate for equality in hockey. Highlights include:
Capital Impact Fund: The Capitals will announce the inaugural Capital Impact Fund beneficiaries in February. The Capitals launched the Capital Impact Fund in conjunction with the 2020-21 season as a program that designates funds to organizations that can assist in eliminating cost barriers faced by local players. The fund is designed to help minority youth players reach their greatest potential and aims to ensure that anyone who wants to play, watch, teach, officiate, or otherwise engage with the sport of hockey is able to do so. Fans can donate to the Capital Impact Fund at WashCaps.com. In addition to announcing the inaugural beneficiaries, the Capitals will also open the application process to the second cycle of applicants.
Black Hockey History Display: On Feb. 2 vs. the Edmonton Oilers, the Capitals will unveil a permanent Black Hockey History Display at Capital One Arena devoted to the Capitals Black history and players. The display is located at section 116 on the main concourse and features:
– Memorabilia including a 1975-76 home jersey worn by Mike Marson (1974-79), a game-used stick by Joel Ward (2011-15) and a game-worn helmet by Devante Smith-Pelly (2017-19).
– A warmup jersey featuring a Players Against Hate end racism shoulder patch. Capitals players wore and auctioned off the jerseys during the Feb. 25, 2021 Black History Night.
– A timeline featuring Black players and key moments in Capitals history.
– An interactive QR code that drives visitors to washcaps.com/blackhockey, featuring additional information to learn about the Capitals commitment to diversity, honoring Black players in history, community partners, resources and more.
The Capitals worked with the Washington, D.C., based design firm HKD Sports on the display. Visuals of the display are linked above.
Fort Dupont Cannons Shop: In January, the Capitals and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation launched a Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club online merchandise shop, with proceeds benefitting the Fort Dupont Cannons and the Washington Capitals Capital Impact Fund. A co-branded Capitals and Cannons T-shirt, hoodie and pom beanie, as well as a Cannons iron on patch are available to purchase at WashCaps.com/FortDupontApparel. Proceeds from the merchandise will benefit the Washington Capitals Capital Impact Fund and the Fort Dupont Cannons. The store will remain open through Monday, Feb. 28. Customers who order in February will receive their orders within three weeks after the store closes on February 28.
The Cannons are the oldest minority youth hockey program in North America and play out of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, the only full-size indoor ice arena in Washington, D.C. The Capitals have a long-standing relationship with Fort Dupont and the Cannons, having assisted with Fort Dupont’s fundraising campaign for a new rink, provided multiple scholarships to Fort Dupont scholar-athletes, and donated equipment to the Cannons. In addition, the Capitals annually host the Cannons at MedStar Capitals Iceplex or visit Fort Dupont to participate in a Cannons practice.
Black History Night Presented by Capital One, Featuring Special Warmup Jersey Fundraiser: The Capitals Feb. 28 game vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs marks the organization’s Black History Night presented by Capital One. Capitals players will wear special black warmup jerseys featuring the Capitals logo and a Fort Dupont Cannons shoulder patch. The jerseys will be signed and auctioned off to benefit the Capital Impact Fund.
Black History Night will also honor diversity and inclusion with tributes and guests throughout the game. Additional details on the game and warmup jersey fundraiser will be announced in late February.
Black Hockey Spotlights: Throughout February, Capitals social channels will highlight stories of Black individuals and their impact on the game and will share content related to Capitals team history, women, moments and the future.
Black Hockey History Truck Tour: In addition, in January the Capitals hosted the NHL’s Black Hockey History Truck Tour. The uniquely curated mobile museum visited two Washington, D.C., region ice rinks from Jan. 21-22. The 525-square foot museum, presented by American Legacy, presents 200 years of Black achievement in hockey. Exhibits feature the founders, trail blazers, history makers, and Stanley Cup champions. The mobile museum also looks ahead to the next generation of young stars, NHL Officials, broadcasters, and women in the game. The Black Hockey History Tour launched in 2019 and will visit 28 cities across North America in 2022.
Black Hockey History Microsite: Visit the Capitals Black Hockey microsite for information on Capitals specific and league-wide initiatives. The site also highlights Black athletes who have played with the organization, including detailed player biographies. In addition to highlighting specific programs and diversity initiatives, the site contains information on youth programs throughout the region and links to resource materials on black hockey.
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