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ARLINGTON, VA - The Washington Capitals will celebrate Black History presented by Capital One on Feb. 25 vs. the New York Rangers at Capital One Arena. Initiatives are planned throughout the day to 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.

Highlights include:
Ceremonial Puck Drop by Capitals Alumnus Devante Smith-Pelly
Capitals alumnus Devante Smith-Pelly will participate in a ceremonial puck drop. During the game, Smith-Pelly will also meet members of the Capitals Black Hockey Committee and local Black youth players.
Smith-Pelly, an eight-year NHL veteran and 2018 Stanley Cup champion, announced his retirement from professional hockey on December 30. Drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round, 42nd overall, in the 2010 NHL Draft, Smith-Pelly became the third-youngest player in Ducks history to appear in an NHL game when he made his debut on October 7, 2011. Smith-Pelly signed with the Capitals as a free agent on July 3, 2017, and played two seasons with Washington. In his first season with the Capitals, Smith-Pelly registered 16 points (7g, 9a) in a career-high 75 games. The Scarborough, Ontario native appeared in all 24 playoff games during Washington's run to the Stanley Cup, registering eight points (7g, 1a). Smith-Pelly scored a goal in the final three games of the Stanley Cup Final, including the game-winning goal in Game 4 and the game-tying goal in Game 5. Smith-Pelly's three goals in the Stanley Cup Final were tied with Alex Ovechkin for the most on Washington.
Prior Black History Night puck drop participants have included Capitals alumnus Bill Riley and his granddaughter Kryshanda Green - the former and first Black captain of the Ryerson University Rams women's hockey team, Capitals alumnus Joel Ward, U.S. representative John Lewis and NHL Legend Willie O'Ree and Fort Dupont Cannons coaches including Cannons founder Neal Henderson.
Celebrating Black History Warmup Jersey Fundraiser
Capitals players will wear special warmup jerseys designed by Robert Generette III, also known as Zilla, on Black History Night that will be signed and auctioned off to benefit the Capitals Capital Impact Fund.
The jersey design features a minimalistic take on the Capitals W alternate crest to represent the past, present and future Black players of the Washington Capitals, expressed through line work that is commonly used in Zilla's illustrations. The design features a set of 11 black lines, each line representing a Black alumnus. The transition of the lines moves from thick to thin in an upward, uplifting motion.
The numbers also emphasize the upward movement with a slight bend in the lines to form a pitch. Each line points up to symbolize hope that the number of Black players in the NHL will continue to increase. Zilla was inspired to infuse the lines from Kwame Mason's Soul on Ice: Past Present & Future documentary on Black players in hockey. A quote in the documentary states "Dream of a Black line," which further influenced Zilla's design.
The jersey's red crest, number and player names are in red to exude energy and power, while the gold stars are a nod to Washington, D.C.'s Fort Dupont Cannons, the oldest minority hockey program in North America, and symbolizes value and prestige. The gold is also meant to represent the past and provide a beacon for the future of Black players in hockey. Zilla incorporated the gold to pay homage to the Fort Dupont Cannons and similar organizations who are paving the way for the next generation of Black hockey players.
MSE Foundation's Celebrating Black History auction featuring signed warmup jerseys, signed pucks and other Capitals items opens Saturday, Feb. 25 at noon and concludes Monday, March 6 at 3 p.m. Preview the auction now at
Last season's warmup jersey fundraiser raised $52,960 for the Capital Impact Fund. In 2020 the Capitals 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 provides financial support to local nonprofit organizations dedicated to further advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in hockey. The objective of the grant is to provide access to the sport in all forms and concentrates on, but is not limited to: equipment, ice time, school programs, program fees and access to the game. The fund aims to help minority youth players reach their greatest potential and create more equal playing fields for all.
Capitals players will also wear apparel on Feb. 25 that features the warmup jersey art. In addition, T-shirts featuring the crest of the warmup jersey designs and celebrating black history month puck will be available at the Team Store at Capital One Arena.
Original Song, "Caps 11," by Saukrates
The Capitals and musical artist Saukrates collaborated on an original song called "Caps 11" dedicated to honoring the 11 Black alumni in Capitals history. The song will debut in-game on Feb. 25. Capitals Black Hockey Committee member and Tucker Road Ducks Parent Hockey Organization President Alexandria Briggs-Blake assisted with conceptualizing and developing the initiative.
A staple in the music industry since 1994, Saukrates is a classically trained violinist who developed his musical talent while playing with Scarborough's youth symphony orchestra. He's earned multiple Juno nominations and won multiple MMVA awards for solo projects, in addition to assisting artists across Canada and the world through song production, drum and instrument musicianship, hook and verse appearances, ghost writing and consultation. He also co-owned Capitol Hill Records, which helped launch many Canadian artists.
Rising Stars Recognition
This year's Celebrating Black History warmup jersey uses the alternative W crest to represent past, present and future black players of the Washington Capitals expressed by the artist through line work in illustrations. The Capitals will recognize future "Rising Stars" for their leadership and paving the way for the next generation of Black hockey players in-game.
In-Game Entertainment
Celebrating Black History will also honor diversity and inclusion with tributes and guests throughout the game. A special on-ice projection with illustrations by warmup jersey artist Zilla will be used during the pre-open in conjunction with the original rap tribute song "Caps 11."
The second intermission mites on ice skaters will be comprised of players from the Tucker Road Ducks.
Video content in-game and on social media will also highlight the Capitals diversity initiatives, including the Feb. 11 Capitals youth hockey skate with members of the Fort Dupont Cannons, Tucker Road Ducks, Baltimore Banners and graduates of the Future Caps Learn to Play Program. The clinic was led by current Gonzaga College High School Varsity II Head Coach and Fort Dupont Cannons alumnus Bryan King.
MSE Foundation's 50/50 Raffle
Proceeds from the Capitals and MSE Foundation's 50/50 Raffle on Feb. 25 will benefit the Capital Impact Fund. MSE Foundation 50/50 raffles take place online and in-game during Capitals home games. One fan with the winning ticket number will win 50% of the collected amount at the game. Proceeds from the other half will benefit the Capital Impact Fund. Tickets will be on sale from 10 a.m. to the end of the second intermission during the game on Feb. 25. To participate, visit
Black Hockey History Display
Capitals fans are encouraged to visit the Black Hockey History Display at Capital One Arena, which was unveiled in February 2022. It is a permanent display on the main concourse at section 116 devoted to the Capitals Black history and players. It features:
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.