St. Catharines OHL team, former captain team up for special Black History Month jersey
Published February 8, 2023 at 2:03 pm
The Niagara IceDogs are teaming up with their former captain Akil Thomas to create a Black History Month specialty jersey for their Feb.19 home game against Sudbury.
Thomas, one of the few Black captains to play in the Ontario Hockey League, will be using his clothing company, ZALE Apparel, to create the specialty jersey, which is being kept hidden from prying eyes at the moment.
The IceDogs players will be using the jerseys for their 2 pm match – the Black History Game – at the Meridian Centre and then auctioning them off after the game.
All jersey auction profits will be going to “What They See is What They Will BE” mentorship program run by the District School Board of Niagara and TOES Niagara, offering Black youth a chance to connect with a Black mentor, where they will see themselves reflected in aspirational career fields, and be supported in reaching their goals.
The former team captain is thrilled with his collaboration with the IceDogs.
“I am honoured and super thankful for the IceDogs willing to give us this opportunity to design their jerseys for the Black History Month Game,” Thomas said.
“Being of colour, it means so much to be involved and I am super excited to see what we come up with.”
Thomas had an outstanding four seasons with the IceDogs after being drafted in 2016, playing 219 regular season games and notching 275 points by the end. Drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, he has since been playing in the LA Kings organization for their AHL affiliate, Ontario Reign.
In 2015, he created ZALE Apparel, first as a teenage hobby before it blossomed into a successful clothing brand which he now uses”as a creative outlet and a way to push boundaries in the clothing industry.”
He pushed those boundaries yet again by collaborating with the L.A. Kings for Black History Month and the NHL’s “HOCKEY IS FOR EVERYONE” initiative. The Kings displayed Thomas’ ZALE-designed black jerseys with a kente print on the trim and a Black power fist patch for their warmup to raise money for charity.
To purchase for that Black History Game on Feb. 19 or any IceDogs game, click HERE.
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