In the span of one week, Greater Toronto Hockey League alumnus Akil Thomas will have debuted two jersey designs – one for the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings on February 13, and the second for the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs on February 19. Both jerseys are specialty designs celebrating Black History Month.
The warm-up jersey for the Los Angeles Kings featured a special colour palette on the Reverse Retro crown and an African-inspired font for the jersey numbers and names. Following the game, the jerseys were auctioned off in support of the Kings Care Foundation and 24 Degrees of Color.
As we take the ice for warmups tonight, we’ll be celebrating Black History by wearing a specially designed sweater by our very own, @AkilThomas2 🎨
Proceeds from tonight’s auction will benefit 24 Degrees of Color and @WeAreAllKings 🤝
— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 14, 2023
After designing the Kings’ Black History Month’s warmup jerseys for the second time, the former Toronto Marlboro and current Kings prospect wrote about the experience.
“I was talking to someone about this the other day and I don’t think they were holding a Black History game in the 50’s or 60’s. It’s great to see the game change for the better and become more inclusive, more aware when it comes to diversity. That’s part of why this is a special game for me,” Thomas shared.
Thomas continued on the details of the jersey specifically:
“The colours chosen for the jersey – green, yellow and red – create an African colour palette, whether it’s different countries or religions, it represents African/Caribbean heritage to me. The font on the back is in that style for the jersey numbers. The fist on the front is a bold emblem, a staple of our Black History jerseys. It fits with the Zale brand and the Kings brand.”
February and Forever.
After designing our Black History Celebration warmup jerseys for the second time, @AkilThomas2 writes about the experience and what tonight means to him 👇
— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 13, 2023
Six days later, the IceDogs will don their former captain’s design in warmups. The post-game jersey auction profits will be donated to “What They See is What They Will BE” with the District School Board of Niagara and TOES Niagara – a non-profit organization working to empower women from diverse backgrounds.
ZALE x ICEDOGS | BHM 2023
— Niagara IceDogs (@OHLIceDogs) February 17, 2023
For Thomas, the opportunity has been nothing but an honour.
— Akil Thomas (@AkilThomas2) February 19, 2023