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New Jersey Devils Honor Coloured Hockey League of the Maritimes for Black Hockey History Night

Photo courtesy of New Jersey Devils
Local artist Ian Crawford (Plainfield, New Jersey) uplifts hockey history, Devils uplift a variety of local and regional history their annual Black Hockey History Night.

I just received this email in my inbox, and this Black Hockey History jersey design for the New Jersey Devils caught my eye. New Jersey will warm up in these sweaters designed by Ian Crawford from Plainfield, New Jersey.

“Working with the Devils means a lot to me because I’ve been allowed to not only work with a national team that cares, but given the opportunity to shine a light on some history that has been lost for quite some time,” said Crawford in the press release. “I hope that this project inspires people in my community to keep creating and continue innovating. The world not only needs but deserves your brilliance.”

I particularly love the should patch that reads “Impact Through Innovation”. According to the team release, this is a homage to the innovation of this league, which is credited with establishing the slap shot and what we know as the "butterfly" goalie style.

In the spirit of innovation, Ian depicted what the Coloured Hockey League trophy might look like today. The other shoulder has a patch depicting a player from the league holding a reimagined version of what their trophy could have looked like today if the league existed.

Photo courtesy of New Jersey Devils
Local artist Ian Crawford (Plainfield, New Jersey) designs trophy for defunct Coloured Hockey League as part of Devils annual Black Hockey History Night.

The jerseys will be auctioned beginning Tuesday, February 21 at 7:00 PM ET and will close on Tuesday, February 28. Proceeds will benefit the Newark Community Museum of Social Justice at the site of the former 4th Police Precinct. The 4th precinct has a difficult yet important history in Newark. In 1967, Black taxi cab driver John Smith was beaten and dragged into the precinct by officers, fueling five days of unrest and 26 casualties.

While I did know about the Maritimes league, I can honestly say I didn't know the full history of John Smith, the 4th precinct, or the new Newark Community Museum. In this way, Crawford's design, commissioned by the New Jersey Devils, does what all "Hockey Is For Everyone" activations should do.

I learned something new!

There will be other opportunities to learn and appreciate Black art and celebrate Black History Month. The Devils organization is amplifying Euphony, aka Theresa Desir's poem “Pavings,” which celebrates the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes and Black hockey history, can be found on the team's YouTube page.

New Jersey also collaborated with George and Darril Fosty, the writers of Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, for fact graphics about the Coloured Hockey League of the Maritimes. The Devils’ social handles will also feature various stories and interviews with the Fosty Brothers, Claude Vilgrain, the organization’s first Black player, and Bryce Salvador, the club’s first black captain and current MSG Networks broadcaster.

Other activations for tonight's game include a ceremonial puck drop by SaCoy Hayward from the community program Hockey in New Jersey and a performance by iStep, Delaware State University's Stem Team, on the main concourse outside Section 19 during the second intermission.

Well done, Devils. Now, if only I still lived in the area, I could attend this beautiful celebration of Black Hockey and Black History live! Maybe next year.

Will you be headed to the Devils game tonight? If so, let us know what you enjoyed most.

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