The Washington Capitals are set to host Black History Night on Monday, Feb. 28 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Capital One Arena, the team announced Tuesday.
“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,” read a team press release.
Bill Riley, a Capitals alum and the third Black player to ever appear in the NHL, will drop a ceremonial puck prior to game time along with his granddaughter, Kryshanda Green. Riley recorded 28 goals and 28 assists in 125 career games with Washington.
The Caps will also don special warmup jerseys before their game against the Maple Leafs. The black warmup jerseys will include a Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club shoulder patch in honor of the Fort Dupont Cannons, the oldest minority hockey program in North America founded in 1978.
Capitals players will sign the jerseys and other items to be auctioned off with funds benefitting the Capitals Impact Fund. Players will also wear decals on their helmets with the likeness of Neal Henderson, the Cannons' founder and the first Black person to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
Henderson's developmental program based out of Washington's Fort Dupont Ice Arena, located in Southeast D.C., provides local and inner-city youth with the chance to participate in the sport.
Capital One Arena itself will also be involved with the event. Fans are encouraged to visit the Capitals Black Hockey History Display, which was unveiled in February in Section 116 of the arena. The display includes memorabilia, warmup jerseys, timelines and information regarding the impact of the Black community on the game.