Skip to main content
The Official Site of the New Jersey Devils

RELEASE: Devils to Host Annual Black History Night on Feb. 11

In honor of the NHL's "Hockey is For Everyone" initiative, the Devils will hold a private pre-game screening of WILLIE, the story of the Willie O'Ree, the first black player to skate in a NHL game

by Staff NJDevils / NewJerseyDevils.com

NEWARK, NJ - The New Jersey Devils will host their annual Black Hockey History Month Night on Tuesday, Feb. 11 vs. the Florida Panthers. In honor of the NHL's "Hockey is For Everyone" initiative, the Devils will hold a private pre-game screening of WILLIE, the story of the Willie O'Ree, the first black player to skate in a National Hockey League game. Proceeds from t-shirt and 50/50 sales will benefit United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

Video: BEHIND THE SCENES | Black Hockey History Tour

A ticket package that includes a Devils Black Hockey History Celebration t-shirt, tickets to the game and post-game photo on the ice may be purchased at NewJerseyDevils.com/BlackHockeyHistory.

NHL Black Hockey History Tour presented by American Legacy:

The NHL's celebration of Black Hockey History will continue in Newark on Monday, Feb. 10 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.) and Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 1 p.m. - 8 p.m. with the NHL Black Hockey History Tour presented by American Legacy. For the second season, this uniquely curated mobile museum will visit 14 cities across North America to celebrate the NHL and Black History Month. The Black History Month celebration is part of Hockey Is For Everyone, a joint NHL and NHLPA initiative that has celebrated diversity and inclusion in hockey since 1996.

Museum Highlights:  

  • Firsts and milestones: an entire wall dedicated to celebrating achievements in black hockey history including the first black NHL player, first captain, and first inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

  • Every black player in NHL history: every player in history will be represented throughout the museum, including via a uniquely designed 'Wall of Pucks.'

  • Team locker room: every stop will have a customized NHL locker room giving fans the opportunity to sit in a stall to take a photo.

Private Pre-Game WILLIE Screening:

From 5:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., the New Jersey Devils will hold a private screening of WILLIE, the story of the Willie O'Ree, the first black player to skate in a National Hockey League game.

Six African American Hockey In New Jersey Players to Join New Jersey Devils Players on Blue Line

In celebration of Black Hockey History Month, six children from Hockey in New Jersey Program will join Devils players on the blue line during the national anthem. The national anthem will be sung by Newark Boys Chorus School.

Black Hockey History Month T-Shirts:

Devils Black Hockey History Month t-shirts will be sold on Prudential Center's main concourse outside Section 20 for $25, with all proceeds benefitting UNCF.

Game Presentation Honors Key Moments in Black Hockey History:

Throughout the game, the New Jersey Devils will highlight key moments in Black Hockey History and Devils Hockey History:

  • On January 18, 1958 Willie O'Ree became the first black person to play in the NHL

  • In 1981, Val James became the first African American to play in the NHL

  •  In 1984, Grant Fuhr became the first black player to win the Stanley Cup

  • In 1989, Claude Vilgrain became the first black player in Devils History

  • In the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Mark Fraser was the first black player drafted in Devils History. Mark was selected in the third round, 84th overall pick.

  • On July 5, 2007, Goaltender Kevin Weekes signs with the New Jersey Devils to serve as a backup to All-Star Martin Brodeur, making him the 1st black goaltender in Devils History.

  • Kevin Weekes also made history in 2009, when he became the first black analyst in hockey. Weekes provides color commentary for NHL games on the NHL Network and Hockey Night in Canada

  • On January 17, 2013, Devils defenseman, Bryce Salvador, was named the 10th captain in the New Jersey Devils historymaking him the 1st black team captain and the third black captain in NHL history

  • On July 23 2018, Devils Assistant Coach, Mike Grier becomes the first black coach in Devils history. 

  • Coach Grier also made history as the first African-American player in the history of the NHL to be exclusively trained in the United States of America.

For more information, fans may go to NewJerseyDevils.com/BlackHockeyHistory.

On Monday, March 23, the New Jersey Devils will host Hockey is for Everyone: Gender Equality Night. The night will include an all-women pregame panel and networking event titled, Women in the Business of Hockey. The panel will feature influential women who hold various roles on the business side of hockey. Proceeds from 50/50 sales will benefit Devils Care Foundation with funds earmarked for Girls Youth Hockey Initiatives.

View More