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Posted at 6:25 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

About that Blackstrom jersey

By Dan Steinberg

"On the way to the game yesterday I saw a (black) guy with a Blackstrom jersey on," Reader Chad wrote me after a Caps game late last month. "No way is this a jersey foul. This is just awesome."

Indeed. Washington's hockey fans have often been derided for their tendency to muck up genuine hockey jerseys with ridiculous names and numbers, but I don't think many people would have a problem with this one. And the blackground, er, background is just as good, too. Like the part where Garrett Broady's fiancee -- who is white -- went to the Kettler Capitals Iceplex pro shop to get a customized Christmas present.

The woman behind the counter gave her a strange look.

"You mean Backstrom?" the woman asked. But that's not what she meant.

"A white chick wanting a Blackstrom," Broady chuckled. "That added to the awkwardness."

Broady, if you're curious, grew up in Gaithersburg as a football-obsessed D.C. sports fan, in love with the Redskins and Terps. He went to Maryland and worked as a manager for the football team, but he also wound up living with a Penguins fan, who helped him appreciate hockey for the first time.

So in turn, he became, cover your eyes, a Pens fan. Then the lockout happened, and he gradually stopped paying attention to the sport. But circumstances conspired to bring him back. The Terps were struggling. The Redskins were being the Redskins. And there was this other team in town that kept winning.

"Everybody was bad at that point, so I just started watching hockey again," Broady, a 28-year old network administrator, told me. "And once I got into it, I just realized it was the best game. Then the NHL playoffs hit, and I was hooked. I think it's the best playoffs in all of sports, to be honest. I just think it's so legit."

And while Alex Ovechkin reminded him most of the football players he grew up with, Broady was drawn to Ovie's Swedish running mate, his coolness on the ice and calm on the puck. One day last season, the Blackstrom thing "just kind of came to me," and it stuck. He and his friends started making the joke at key moments -- Blackstrom with the pass! Blackstrom scores! -- until his fiancee finally suggested he take the natural next step.

"I don't know," Broady replied, conjuring up Jersey Foul horror stories. "I didn't want to be one of those guys."

But she convinced him, and went to get the jersey, and when he wore it to his first game in January, it was a hit among the people who stared long enough to get it. "Awesome," was the typical response. Well, that and the random stalker photos from behind.

Personally, it made me think of that guy Blelvis, who used to wander around 14th Street on weekend nights, bumming cigarettes and singing "Hound Dog" to tipsy hipsters. And Broady -- who now lives in Ballston -- has taken to the name, writing on his @NickBlackstrom Twitter account that "If Backstrom from the #Caps hadn't been born Swedish, he would have been born in SE DC, dunkin' on fools."

So I think it's all good. I also recommend that Broady receive a lifetime pass from any Jersey Fouls accusations, by virtue of uniqueness. And look, it's a whole lot better than if he decided to become a Brandon Backe fan.

By Dan Steinberg  | February 8, 2011; 6:25 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Comments

Ok, I get the part about a black guy wearing a Backstrom jersey but what is the big deal of a white girl buying it.

Yep, story FOUL

Posted by: PensRule | February 8, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

^


Nobody cares what you think.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 8, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Because it is Blackstrom.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 8, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

@PensRule

It'd be a big deal if you were her dad!

Posted by: philarmy | February 9, 2011 6:59 AM | Report abuse

wtf @ PensRule? Keep the racist comments in Pennsyltucky.

Posted by: gs12 | February 9, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Morning racism... usually I have to read comments on political articles to get a dose of it.

Thanks, DC Sports Bog.

Posted by: GFisher1 | February 9, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I don't really care what people wear or who wears it, but I guess I jus't don't get it. It is a jersey for a player. It is not his name or even his nickname. So why would you change it this way except to make a racial statement? Seems like some will take any opprotunity to bring race into it, which this guy clearly has, and then have comments about it. I am not so sure it has anything to do with race, but more to do with "look at me", which also has worked because he got the Washington Post, who couldn't bother to write a decent article or headline about Chris Hanburger being voted into the HOF, to dedicate an entire article to a mispelled name on a hockey jersey.

Like I said it doesn't matter to me. No harm no foul. I look at it as silliness no matter who is doing it or why. I don't think I would like it if I worked my whole life to get to a point where people are buying clothes with my name on it, and then they changed it, but he probably couldn't care less either.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | February 9, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

^

It's a brother diggin' on hockey. Enjoy the laugh man.

Posted by: mcoghlan | February 9, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

You know after reading this article again, it definitely is a racial statement. Innocent and meant as a compliment, but a racial statement just the same.

What he is saying, or at least being portrayed as saying, is that if he was born in DC he would be a basketball player instead of a hockey player and play well -

"If Backstrom from the #Caps hadn't been born Swedish, he would have been born in SE DC, dunkin' on fools."

So if he was going to be that good he would have to be black, or play as a black kid, hence Blackstrom. So yeah it is a compliment and meant respectfully I am sure to him as well as black kids, but when you stereotype, it's racism.

It doesn't affect me at all, but it is what it is. Considering the area I am sure most will not agree or think it picking nits, but it is what it is. Harmless in my opinion, but still racist.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | February 9, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

There are people who get a good joke, and then there are people who post on blogs.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | February 9, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

So which one are you?

Posted by: freakzilla | February 9, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Sure it's a story...DC needs Blackstrom. That other chocolate city, Atlanta, is seeking to stockpile all the black players in the league, and by extension, all the black hockey fans

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | February 9, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm just stoked to see Blelvis get some love. "Hey Blelvis, where are you from?"

"Blemphis."

Classic.

Dan, give some respect to Compliment Man and Black Cat Bill, too.

Posted by: bryc3 | February 9, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Most of you need to read, Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895-1925.

Posted by: epostell | February 9, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

In what parallel universe would any of us need to read this? In what way could it possibly explain the needs of todays black young people to change everything into something black, including a swedish white players name?

Posted by: dbrine1261 | February 9, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

O hand yeah I agree Blelvis you da man. I look forward to a celbratory chorus with you when we win. LOL

Posted by: dbrine1261 | February 9, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Of course Blelvis may not read the Post. So I will tell him after this road trip. But if you do read this Blelvis, i am the one in the Portland Halpern Jersey usually.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | February 9, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Because you might learn something, it's clear you don't know much. That much is evident from reading your comments. Also, don't bother to reply. I'm done with the comment section, as I am losing faith in mankind. good luck....

Posted by: epostell | February 9, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@dbrine1261:

In what parallel universe would anyone who didn't care about this whimsical blog entry not only read it but take the time to post six times about it?

OK, well, I'm off to eat some babyblack ribs.

Posted by: scrappledog | February 9, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Blelvis from Blupelo, MS?

Posted by: bflorhodes | February 9, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, yeah. He blorn there, but he became famous in Blemphis.

Posted by: dac18 | February 9, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

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