Coloration of Hockey_ Black gamers in Capitals historical past to be honored in tune

William Douglas has been writing The Coloration of Hockey weblog since 2012. Douglas joined in 2019 and writes about individuals of coloration within the sport. At the moment, as a part of’s celebration of Black Historical past Month, he profiles the Washington Capitals debuting a tune honoring the franchise’s 11 Black gamers as a part of their Black Historical past Day recreation Saturday.

Saukrates desires it to be 90 seconds that lasts endlessly.

The award-winning Canadian rap artist hopes a tribute tune he performs honoring the 11 Black gamers in Washington Capitals historical past can have a protracted shelf life, and never be a one-hit marvel.

The 90-second tune and video debuts Saturday, when the Capitals host the New York Rangers (1 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, SN NOW) at Capital One Area as a part of the staff’s Black Historical past Day celebration.

“They (Capitals) do it yearly, Black Historical past Month,” Saukrates mentioned. “They did not need to simply are available in and say, ‘OK, yeah, we do that yearly and everyone go away, we’ll return to our common lives.’ They needed some endurance all year long. I agree with the truth that music, good music, high quality music, has endurance and permits their marketing campaign to stretch past February.”

The tune, a collaboration between Capitals officers and Saukrates, pays homage to Mike Marson (1974-79), who turned the second Black participant within the NHL, 16 years after Willie O’Ree debuted with the Boston Bruins on Jan. 18, 1958; Invoice Riley (1974-79); Reginald Savage (1990-93), Anson Carter (1996-97, 2003-04), Mike Grier (2002-04), Jason Doig (2002-04), Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre (2003-04), Donald Brashear (2006-09), Joel Ward (2011-15), Madison Bowey (2017-19) and Devante Smith-Pelly (2017-19).

The tune additionally offers lyrical nods to Black Washington tradition from its well-known eateries and venues to the pioneers of the distinctly District Go-Go music sound to the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Membership, North America’s oldest minority-oriented youth hockey program.

“This tune is a singular method to honor an especially vital a part of our group’s historical past with Black alumni and varied tie-ins to Washington, D.C.,” mentioned Amanda Tischler, the Capitals senior vp of promoting. “We won’t look ahead to followers to have the ability to hear and admire it.”

Alexandria Briggs-Blake got here up with the thought for the tune. She’s a member of the Capitals Black Hockey Committee and president of the Tucker Highway Dad or mum Hockey Group, a suburban Washington minority-oriented youth hockey group.

Briggs-Blake mentioned she thought it could be a great way to assist educate individuals who have not had the chance to see the Capitals’ Black hockey exhibit completely on show inside Capital One Area.

She was impressed by a tune carried out by actor Malcolm Jamal Warner that honored Black historic figures.

“I heard that and instantly thought, ‘We may do one thing like this to pay tribute to Black Washington Capitals hockey gamers,'” she mentioned. “I pitched the thought to the Capitals, and so they mentioned, ‘Yeah, that sounds good, let’s have a look at what you possibly can include.’ So I bought my poetic abilities working and I wrote a tribute to every of the gamers.”

Staff officers spoke with Canadian filmmaker Damon Kwame Mason, director of the documentaries “NHL Sure” and “Soul on Ice: Previous, Current & Future” and the upcoming “Ice Queens.” He really helpful Saukrates for the undertaking. The rapper, who grew up as a classically skilled violinist, wrote music for “Soul on Ice.”

Briggs-Blake gave the Scarborough, Ontario-based Saukrates an oral historical past of Washington to assist him craft the tune’s lyrics.

“I really like hockey, my brother and I grew up taking part in the game,” mentioned Saukrates, who wrote a tune for a 2011 Nike industrial that includes retired NHL defenseman-turned ESPN hockey analyst P.Ok. Subban. “My brother and I grew up taking part in the game. He was born in Edmonton whereas we had been on the market for seven years throughout the Oilers dynasty.”

The tribute tune is a part of a busy Black Historical past Day at Capital One Area. The Capitals will put on particular warmup jerseys designed by illustrator Robert Generette III, often known as Zilla, that will probably be signed and auctioned to profit the Capitals’ Capital Affect Fund.

Smith-Pelly returns for the primary time since he retired on Dec. 30 to participate within the ceremonial puck drop beforethe recreation.

Smith-Pelly performed eight NHL seasons and have become a Washington sports activities legend when he went from bottom-six ahead to a pivotal participant throughout the Capitals’ drive to their first Stanley Cup championship in 2018.

He had seven objectives in 24 playoff video games throughout that run, matching his whole in 75 video games that common season, together with one every in Video games, 3, 4, and 5 of the Stanley Cup Remaining in opposition to the Vegas Golden Knights.

The final objective, at 9:52 of the third interval of Recreation 5, tied it 3-3 and set the stage for Lars Eller’s Cup-winning objective 2:31 later.

Chosen by the Anaheim Geese within the second spherical (No. 42) of the 2010 NHL Draft, Smith-Pelly had 101 factors (44 objectives, 57 assists) in 395 video games with the Geese, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils and Capitals from 2011-19.

Smith-Pelly mentioned he is enthusiastic about visiting a spot the place he had a few of his biggest moments.

“Clearly, going again is particular,” he mentioned. “Will probably be enjoyable to see everybody. I hope it is a good ovation.”

Photographs: Washington Capitals, Saukrates