“If Anything Comes From This, I Hope More Fans Realize the Power Our Voices Have”: Local Hockey Fan Hopes Her Twist on An Iconic Image Can Help Expand the Reach of Hockey

Kaylin Markart/Metropolitan Riveters

One reason professional sports, and hockey in particular, is such a beloved commodity among fans is the feeling of unity among fan bases, camaraderie through the good moments and bad, as well as the willingness of others who love the sport to acknowledge an accomplishment of fellow fans, or players. Some fans find ways to incorporate their love of the game into the things they do in their everyday lives. One local hockey fan in the DMV has done that and more with a logo design that has captured the attention of many.

Jordan (known by most as Jo) Dabney, an Ashburn, Virginia resident, has received widespread recognition for her latest creation, a twist on the iconic “Rosie the Riveter” image from World War II, which was a symbol for women who took on more responsibility on the home-front and the logo for the Metropolitan City Riveters, a professional women’s ice hockey team based in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, that plays in the Premier Hockey Federation (formerly the National Women’s Hockey League).

Contacted by the team to collaborate on a spin on the original logo, Jo created a black Rosie logo, which was debuted by the team in February. The logo’s popularity was acknowledged by many around the hockey world, including Jo’s favorite player of all-time, Dallas Stars (and former Washington Capitals) goaltender Braden Holtby.

“I’m not quite sure what I was expecting after the design would go public, and people would see my name and work associated with a professional hockey team”, Jo tells NoVa Caps, “Seeing all these people in hockey, who I love and whose stories I read, acknowledge my work in the same way I do theirs is baffling. To see all these people, some I know, many I don’t, reach out to me and say they love the jersey and they can’t wait for theirs to arrive, is overwhelming in the best way possible. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a big Capitals fan and a huge (or ‘HUGE’ as the Dallas Stars twitter account put it) Holtby fan…So, to have my favorite player acknowledge my work, and wear it is surreal, and I’m going to be completely honest, I started crying when the video played and he said, “Hey Jo.” Simply knowing both Brandi and Braden Holtby own my art, is probably one of the coolest things that will ever happen in my life”

The design generated large merchandise sales for the Riveters, who sought Jo due to her work with the Black Girl Hockey Club, a nonprofit organization developed to help grow the game.

“Black Girl Hockey Club is an organization that helps young Black girls get into hockey. From scholarships to fund kids gear and registration fees, to meetups at games. Black Girl Hockey Club, is an organization as well as a safe space for older Black women who are players or parents or fans in the hockey community. The attention the Black Rosie jersey has gotten, has definitely put more eyes on BGHC in the best way possible”.

Metropolitan Riveters

While not as popular as some of the other professional sports leagues in North America, the NHL has grown its fan base with the addition of new franchises as well as increased outreach through various platforms. Jo was one such fan whose love of the game developed out of a growing relationship with all facets of the sport, with some help from Holtby as well.

“If Braden Holtby weren’t the first hockey player I knew, I probably wouldn’t be a fan today”, Jo said, “My love for hockey definitely grew from curiosity. I didn’t know any other hockey fans when I first got into the sport, so the more I learned about the rules and the teams, the more passionate I felt about it”.

The Riveters debuted the jerseys in a 4-3 loss to the Toronto Six, and saw an overwhelmingly positive response to the design, which generated large merchandise sales for the club. The original design was inspired by two influential black American women, one of whom, Betty Reid Soskin, served as a National Parks ranger at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Park in Richmond Virginia for over a decade, until retiring at age 100 in late March, while the other, Ruth S. Wilson, was one of about 600,000 black women who joined the workforce during World War II as a “Rosie”.

“I wouldn’t say the design was based on a sole person, but definitely inspired by Ruth Wilson and Betty Reid Soskin. I did my best to try to design the jersey in a way that felt less like a character and more like someone people could relate, but just happened to be wearing on their chest (that’s definitely up to others to decide if I did that well or not)”, Jo explained. On her website (see below for link), Jo has posted other works designed over the years, including a number of Capitals-themed concepts. “My creative process usually starts with looking over something I hate, and brainstorming how I could make it into something I like. With jersey design concepts, I like to use darker colors and retired logos, or incorporate something that only fans of a specific team would notice or care about (like the three stars for DC or the Maryland flag). I recognize as a fan, I can create designs based on what I want to see vs. what team is asking for from a professional, which definitely brings interesting concepts to life”.

If there is one thing that Jo hopes the twist on the well-known logo will do, it is to add to the growth and accessibility of the game of hockey for everyone. “If anything comes from this, I hope more fans realize the power our voices have. We choose who we support, and we choose where our money goes and in a way, that decides who gets attention and recognition. It’ll take more than a jersey to grow women’s hockey, and to make the sport more inclusive to specific demographics, but to me, this definitely added to the conversation. For people who are normally excluded and forgotten about in the hockey community, I hope in some way this shows them that this sport can be for everyone”.

NoVa Caps would like to thank Jo Dabney for corresponding with us for this piece and appreciate her time and contributions!

– To see more of Jo’s work and products, click HERE and HERE for her shop, and follow her on Instagramand on Twitter
– To find Black Rosie the Riveter merchandise, visit the Metropolitan Riveters’ online store HERE

By Michael Fleetwood

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