The Washington Capitals have announced a number of initiatives for their upcoming Black History Day Celebration at Capital One Arena this Saturday, including special themed warmup jerseys designed by award-winning illustrator Robert Generette III, also known as Zilla.
Washington will wear the black, red and gold warmup jerseys prior to puck drop vs. the New York Rangers on Saturday. The jerseys will then be auctioned off to benefit 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,” read a team press release.
Each facet of the jersey is deliberate in its message. The large red ‘W’ includes 11 lines – one for each of the 11 Black alumni in Capitals history – transitioning upward from thick to thin “in the hopes that the number of Black players will continue to increase.” The Gold accent is an homage to Fort Dupont Hockey, a local team dedicated to advancing the game in minority communities.
“I was scared at first,” Generette said in an interview regarding designing the jerseys. “I never designed anything as far as apparel was concerned, so my thoughts going into it is like, ‘How do I translate what I do as far as illustration is concerned on apparel?’”
In addition to the special warmup jerseys, Saturday’s celebration will also include an appearance from former Capital fan favorite Devante Smith-Pelly. ‘DSP,’ a Washington alum of two seasons and former Stanley Cup Champion in D.C., will take part in the ceremonial puck drop.
Smith-Pelly, Generette, and film producer Kwame Mason were all invited to Washington’s locker room on Friday to discuss the importance of celebrating Black History and the significance of Saturday’s event. The Caps also collaborated with musical artist Saukrates on an original song “dedicated to honoring the 11 Black alumni in Capitals history.”
Fans can find out more about Saturday’s Black History Celebration on the team’s website. They can also bid on everything from game-used sticks to signed warmup jerseys on the team’s BHM silent auction site.
Saturday’s game starts at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.