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Newark Artist Designed Devils' Jerseys to Mark Black History Month

NJ Devils

Ian Crawford created the jerseys to pay homage to Canada's Colored Hockey League of the early 1900s

A local artist found work with the local hockey team during Black History month.

Ian Crawford, who says he spends a lot of time in Newark these days, designed the warm-up jerseys the Devils wore before a game against Montreal to celebrate Black History Month. Crawford explained how it all happened.

“It was an open call that I saw online for the Devils, they were just looking, had a general open artist call, they were talking about doing theme jerseys for various months, it wasn’t just Black History month,” he said.

Crawford hit the history books and decided the jerseys would pay homage to the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, founded in Canada in 1895 and lasting till 1930.

“The league basically was started by four baptist church leaders and the premise of the league was basically to attract young black men to come to church, sit through the service and be able to play the games against rival churches and communities,” he said.

The Kente cloth-style pattern on the jerseys is a nod to the sons and grandsons of runaway African slaves who helped establish the league.

Crawford describes how he created the player and trophy depicted on the jerseys.

“He was based on a player out of the league,” said Crawford. “The trophy that I found was very tiny, so I kind of just decided to reimagine what a trophy would look like. I took elements from what the Stanley Cup looks like and just kind of combined those and that’s where the trophy came in.”

You can get a T-shirt with the jersey’s design in the team’s stores. Proceeds benefit the Newark Community Museum.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.