Saukrates pens tribute to Washington Caps Black players


Song to debut at Washington Caps – New York Rangers game this Saturday


Saukrates wants it to be 90 seconds that lasts forever.

The award-winning Canadian rap artist hopes a tribute song he performs in honor of the 11 Black players in Washington Capitals history will have longevity and not be a one-hit wonder.

The 90-second tune and video debut Saturday when the Capitals host the New York Rangers (1 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, SN NOW) at the Capital One Arena as part of the team’s Black History Day celebrations.

“They (Capitals) do it every year, Black History Month,” Saukrates said. “They didn’t want to just come in and say, ‘OK, yeah, we do this once a year and everyone goes away, we go back to our normal lives.’ They wanted some staying power throughout the year. I agree with the fact that music, good music, quality music, has staying power and allows their campaign to stretch beyond February.”

The song, a collaboration between Capitals officials and Saukrates, pays homage to Mike Marson (1974-79), who became the second black player in the NHL, 16 years after Willie O’Ree with the Boston Bruins on January 18, 1958 debuted ; Bill Riley (1974-79); Reginald Savage (1990-93), Anson Carter (1996-97, 2003-04), Mike Grier (2002-04), Jason Doig (2002-04), Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre (2003-04), Donald Brashear (2006-09), Joel Ward (2011-15), Madison Bowey (2017-19) and Devante Smith-Pelly (2017-19).

The tune also makes lyrical references to Black Washington culture, from its famous restaurants and venues to the pioneers of the distinctive district go-go music sound to the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, North America’s oldest minority-oriented youth hockey



“This song is a unique way to honor an extremely important part of our organization’s history of black alumni and various connections to Washington, DC,” said Amanda Tischler, senior vice president of marketing at Capitals. “We can’t wait for fans to hear and appreciate it.”

Alexandria Briggs-Blake came up with the idea for the song. She is a member of the Capitals Black Hockey Committee and President of the Tucker Road Parent Hockey Organization, a minority-oriented youth hockey group in suburban Washington.

Briggs-Blake said she thinks it’s a good way to educate people who haven’t had the opportunity to see the Capitals’ black hockey exhibition permanently at Capital One Arena.

She was inspired by a song by actor Malcolm Jamal Warner that honored black historical figures.

“I heard that and immediately thought, ‘We could do something like this to pay tribute to the Black Washington Capitals hockey players,’” she said. “I pitched the idea to the Capitals and they said, ‘Yeah, that sounds good, let’s see what you can come up with.’ So I put my poetic skills to work and wrote a tribute to each of the players.”

Team leaders spoke to Canadian filmmaker Damon Kwame Mason, director of documentaries NHL Bound and Soul on Ice: Past, Present & Future and upcoming Ice Queens. He recommended Saukrates for the project. The rapper, who grew up a classically trained violinist, wrote music for Soul on Ice.

Briggs-Blake gave the Scarborough, Ontario-based Saukrates an oral history of Washington to help him write the lyrics.

“I love hockey, my brother and I grew up with the sport,” said Saukrates, who wrote a song for a Nike commercial in 2011 that starred retired NHL defenseman turned ESPN hockey analyst PK Subban. “My brother and I grew up with the sport. He was born in Edmonton when we were out there for seven years during the Oilers dynasty.”

The tribute song is part of a busy Black History Day at Capital One Arena. The Capitals will wear special pre-match jerseys designed by illustrator Robert Generette III, aka Zilla, which will be autographed and auctioned off to benefit the