Photo: Washington Post Photo by Jonathan Newton
A decisive 5-goal game in the Stanley Cup final cemented the Devonte Smith-Pelly of the Washington Capitals as one of the heroes of the Postseason of the NHL. But Smith-Pelly's moment – a dazzling score that tied the crucial game in the middle of the last period – echoed particularly loudly in Washington's black community.
Ralph Featherstone training in the only public ice rink at Fort Dupont Ice Arena In Washington, Smith-Pelly, a 26-year-old black Canadian, termed seven seasons in a predominantly white league "one inspiration."
"There are black players in the NHL since Willie O" Ree, but we did not have the opportunity to see her on the bigger stage and not just be there, but also contribute, "Featherstone said, referring on O & # 39; Ree, the league's first black player to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame this week.
Featherstone's young players also became aware of Smith-Pelly.
"It's inspiring to see Noah Pettiford, 13, said that someone like us, who comes from a place similar to ours, achieves that feat.
Afte Smith-Pelly's playoff performance – with seven goals matching his regular season his influence on black hockey fans as a topic of conversation.
"Culturally, Washington's importance to DC, in particular, is undeniable." Clinton Yates's Undefeated wrote in a play entitled, "The Importance of a Stanley Cup Champion named Devante." "At one point in the series, the local crowd sang its name, a sight that I thought I would never see in my life."
But just three weeks after these "DSP" fonts, Capital One Arena took over the team, announcing that the upcoming restricted free agent will no longer qualify on Monday at 5:00 pm, the Smith-Pelly on July 1 made an unrestricted free agent. His future with the defending champions of the Stanley Cup seemed bleak.
The news met with some indignation from the black capital fans.
"It feels like a betrayal," said College Park, Maryland, resident LaTanya Anderson, who has followed the team for 46 years.
On Wednesday, their concerns were relieved when Smith-Pelly was ready to return to Washington for a year, $ 1 million extension
"Money is not so important if I can be happy in one place," said Smith-Pelly.
"I love being a role model and being in a city where there are many black children." I generally saw many black people at the parade, "he continued," being part of it and Hopefully growing the game in DC and DMV feels good. As I said, they hugged me and I want to return to the city where I was admitted. I hope I continue to change the game and help a few children.
He has already helped many local children.
"DSP's presence in the team and the great emergence in great times and a solid player for them has helped minorities see that they could be a player and hockey is a game for all, "said Ty Newberry, executive director of Fort Dupont.
It's hard for children, especially children of color, to strive for something when they do not see themselves Newberry said," If you do not see it, It can not be you, "he said," now colored children see someone who looks like they are participating in a sport and will be very successful. "
In February, Smith-Pelly found a way, Fort Dupont even more One week after four Chicago Blackhawks fans were ejected from United Center for shouting racist comments at Smith-Pelly, Chicago resident John Simpson suggested that fans give money to a charity donate by Smith-Pelly. Www.mjfriendship.de/de/index.php?op…80&Itemid=58 Spurred on by more than 3,000 children brought to the ice for free or with a scholarship The main actor Englisch: www.mjfriendship.de/en/index.php?op…27&Itemid=47 […] has also created personal time for the people of the organization.
"Earlier in the year we practiced at Kettler and he was one of the skaters who were with us on the ice," said Featherstone. "He took pictures with us – I have one with him and my son, we talk a lot about favorite players and people, they look up to him, he's definitely one of those guys."
Smith-Pelly continues to be popular He said he would not visit President Donald Trump and the White House if the capitals won the Stanley Cup because he disagreed with Trump's "racist and sexist remarks"
"[He’s] a few steps away from a legend, "said Ifeanyi Uzoukwu, who lived in Washington until March and became a Capitals fan. "He dramatically scored the binding goal in the deciding game, and when it was time to settle for black lives by not visiting the president, he knew what to do."
This community is now ready for his return.
"I am glad that he will stay here for another year, so that his game in this country can gain popularity," said Uzoukwu. "I will not be surprised if his binding goal of Game 5 is soon printed on shirts."