Tonight, on the final evening of Black History Month, the Devils will be hosting the Vancouver Canucks.
In addition to being the first meeting of 2022 between Jack and Quinn Hughes, the Devils will also be honoring those pioneers of Color who have paved the way in the National Hockey League in general and the New Jersey Devils specifically.
Catherine Bogart, in her “Three Things” column on the Devils’ official app, mentioned that the team will be wearing special warmup jerseys to mark the occasion.
The jerseys were designed by defenseman PK Subban (who is a spokes-athlete for Adidas) and will be auctioned following the game to raise money for both the Devils Youth Foundation and the PK Subban Foundation.
They will feature numerous nods to the Devils’ past and to NHL trailblazer Willie O’Ree.
Bogart described the jersey, saying that it will feature the Devils logo on the front filled with photos and text. Around the outline of the logo will be the words “A Movement Not a Moment.”
Within the logo will be featured nine men. Among them: Claude Vilgrain, who was the first Black player to play for the Devils, Mark Fraser, the team’s first Black draft pick, Mike Grier, the first Black coach in Devils history, Kevin Weekes, the first Black Devils goalie and Bryce Salvador, the first Black Devils captain (as well as the team’s first Black broadcaster, now with MSG Networks).
Bogart mentioned that Sean Brown, Johnny Oduya, Wayne Simmonds and Devante Smith-Pelly will also be honored on the jersey for their involvement with the franchise.
Outside of players and coaches directly connected to the Devils, Willie O’Ree – the NHL’s first Black player – will also be honored.
There will be a patch on the shoulder commemorating O’Ree, Bogart said. Also, each player will wear number 22 (O’Ree’s number with the Boston Bruins when he broke the NHL’s color barrier) on their backs. Within the “numbers will be a story highlighting O’Ree’s impact on the sport of hockey, and other key Black figures in hockey who O’Ree opened the door for.”
Subban told Bogart: “This is a very special moment with the Devils doing this jersey for Black History Month and I’m so happy that the organization and League has given us an opportunity to put this together. When players are celebrated now, that has come on the shoulders of those before us, like Willie O’Ree. These moments are reflective of progress and change. The game will get to a place where it isn’t just about the Black players, the Black individuals who work in the sport, to have to speak out. The real sign of change is when the Black players and individuals don’t have to say anything and we will get there.”
You will be able to see the jerseys in less than an hour as the pregame will be starting on MSG+ at 7 PM for the 7:30 PM puck drop.
We will have coverage for you following the game right here following the outcome.