The Washington Capitals are going all out for their Black History Night on February 28 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Capitals will wear special jerseys during warmups that feature a gold patch honoring the Fort Dupont Cannons – the country’s oldest minority hockey program.
The jerseys will be autographed and auctioned off afterward on Handbid. Other auction items available in the Black History Night auction include signed Black History Month pucks, Canine Calendars, and game-used gear.
The money raised from the auction will benefit the Capital Impact Fund. The Capital Impact Fund was created in 2020 by the Capitals and the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation to provide grants to organizations that can assist in eliminating cost barriers faced by individuals of color in the hockey community.
The Capitals will also wear a helmet decal honoring coach Neal Henderson, a USA Hockey Hall of Fame member, who founded the Cannons. Former Capital Bill Riley, the third Black player to ever play in the NHL, will participate in the ceremonial puck drop along with his granddaughter Kryshanda Green, the first Black captain of the Ryerson University Rams women’s hockey team.
Here’s the full press release from the Capitals:
Capitals to Celebrate Black History Night Presented by Capital One on Monday, Feb. 28
Capitals Alumnus Bill Riley and Granddaughter Kryshanda Green, Former and First Black Captain of Ryerson Rams, to Participate in Ceremonial Puck Drop
Black History Month Auction Featuring Special Warmup Jerseys with Fort Dupont Cannons Patch Now Open
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals will celebrate Black History Night presented by Capital One on Monday, Feb. 28 when the team hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs at Capital One Arena at 7 p.m. The evening will honor the organization’s history, celebrate Black achievement in hockey and highlight how the Capitals are working to further grow the game in the region. In addition, several elements will honor the Washington, D.C.,-based Fort Dupont Cannons, the oldest minority hockey program in North America. Highlights include:
Ceremonial Puck Drop: Capitals alumnus Bill Riley and his granddaughter Kryshanda Green will participate in a ceremonial puck drop.
Riley made his NHL debut with the Capitals in 1974, becoming the first Black Nova Scotian to play in the NHL and the third Black player to play in the league. In 125 games with the Capitals, Riley recorded 28 goals and 28 assists.
Green is the former and first Black captain of the Ryerson University Rams women’s hockey team. While at Ryerson, Green broke the all-time points and assists records. She graduated from Ryerson with a B.A. in politics and governance and currently serves on the NHL’s Youth Hockey Inclusion Council.
Special Warmup Jersey Fundraiser: During warmups, Capitals players will wear special black warmup jerseys with a Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club shoulder patch in honor of the Fort Dupont Cannons. The jerseys will be signed and auctioned off along with signed pucks commemorating Black History Month and other items to benefit the Capital Impact Fund. Hosted by Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, the fundraiser is now open at WashCaps.com/BHM-Auction and concludes March 2 at 3 p.m. EST.
The Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club – also known as the Cannons – is part of the National Hockey League’s Hockey is for Everyone Program and is the oldest minority hockey program in North America. Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, founded in 1978 by Coach Neal Henderson, is a developmental program that provides local and inner-city youth with the opportunity to participate in an organized ice hockey program. The Cannons play out of the Fort Dupont Ice Arena located in Southeast D.C.
To date, the Cannons home rink has been the Fort Dupont Ice Arena, the only full-size indoor ice arena in Washington, D.C. With the facility slated to close in February and construction on a new rink to begin, the Capitals are honoring Fort Dupont Ice Arena and the Cannons throughout February.
In 2020 the Capitals organization and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation created the Capital Impact Fund to provide grants to organizations that can assist in eliminating cost barriers faced by individuals of color in the hockey community. The Washington Capitals and MSE Foundation Capital Impact Fund Grant will provide financial support to local nonprofit organizations dedicated to further advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in hockey.
Neal Henderson Helmet Decal: During the game, players will wear special helmet decals featuring Henderson’s likeness in honor of his contributions to hockey. In 2019, Henderson became the first Black individual to be inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame.
Black Hockey History Display: Fans are encouraged to visit the Capitals Black Hockey History Display, which was unveiled in February. The permanent 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.
In-Game Elements: Black History Night will also honor diversity and inclusion with several tributes and guests throughout the game.
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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