ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals defensemen Mike Green, Karl Alzner, assistant coach Jim Johnson and mascot Slapshot visited Randolph Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia, on Thursday, Jan. 12, to host the Capitals Hockey School. “It was great. A lot of energy,” said Mike Green at the end of the day.
Karl Alzner is very active in the Capitals’ community service programs. He really enjoys the hockey schools. ”I think about when I was their age and how awesome it would have been if I could have had some of the players from the Canucks come by and play at my school. So that is a neat thing for me to be able to give them the opportunity that I wish I could have had.”
This was the first Capitals hockey school for Jim Johnson, however, he has been involved with similar programs with other teams. Johnson recently joined the Capitals coaching staff and jumped right into community service. He explained, “It is great to get out into the community and see the excitement of the kids when they see the players. It’s real important for us to get involved in the community and get them behind what these guys are doing and behind the organization and what we do. It’s also good for these guys to get out and for the kids to see that they are normal guys. That’s what great about it.”
The players began the session fielding questions from students in the school’s gymnasium before directing a floor hockey clinic with 180 third through fifth grade students. Green, Alzner and Johnson instructed the students on basic hockey skills such as stick-handling, passing and shooting.
The students were able to try out the skills in front of their peers with help from the Caps. Two students volunteered to be dressed as goaltenders, learning how to put on the equipment and how to handle the goalie stick. Before the kids started the scrimmage, the girls and boys competed in a shootout competition. Green represented the girls’ team and Alzner and the boys’ team. The boys won.
Following the shootout competition, the students played alongside the pair of players in a friendly scrimmage. Then things got really competitive when a few of the teachers faced the team of Green, Alzner and Johnson. The Capitals team prevailed, however, the student in goal for the Caps made some great saves and impressed Green and Alzner. Alzner even mentions him at the end of the video (see end of post).
The hour-long program concluded with the Capitals donating a set of hockey equipment to the school. All students who participated in the session received autographs from Green and Alzner, Caps squishy pucks and Hockey 101 booklets. The school also received an official Capitals Hockey School banner to display in their school year-round.
This was the ninth Capitals Hockey School visit this season. The Capitals host two Hockey School visits each month between September and May and donate street hockey equipment to each participating school.
This is the fifth-consecutive year the Capitals have conducted their Hockey School program. The Caps have hosted more than 50 clinics and reached more than 7,500 students in the past four years. Hockey School is a free program, designed to be both instructional and interactive, with the goal of exposing students to floor hockey while teaching proper hockey technique. Each school will receive an official Capitals Hockey School banner to display in their school year-round.
Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.