SPRINGFIELD, Va. — Washington Capitals goalie Tomas Vokoun, forward Jay Beagle, assistant coach Dean Evason and Air Slapshot visited North Springfield Elementary School in Springfield, Virginia on Thursday, Mar. 1, to host the Capitals Hockey School.
A huge kudos to the students and teachers from North Springfield Elementary School for the amazing signs and decorations to welcome the Capitals. Everyone noticed and were impressed. Assistant Coach Dean Evason commented, “By far, it’s the best school for the signage that we’ve seen in a long time.”
“They even coming in we had our own parking spots and had made signs made for us,” said Jay Beagle. “They went all out for us and it was pretty special.” “They put so much effort for us coming here,” said Tomas Vokoun.
The players began the session fielding questions from the 180 fourth and fifth grade students in the schools’s gymnasium. One of the humorous questions asked by a student was, “Is it hard to understand Ovi?” Without hesitation, Beagle responded while giggling, “Yes.”
Evason, Vokoun and Beagle then instructed the students on basic hockey skills such as stick-handling, passing and shooting. After the skills demonstration, the Caps helped guide the student volunteers through the drills. To close the clinic, there was a brief scrimmage between Vokoun and the girls on one team and Beagle and the boys on the other.
Competition really heated up when the North Springfield Elementary School teachers and staff faced the Capitals players and staff. The Capitals won with the self-imposed number one star of the game going to Assistant Coach Dean Evason with two goals and two assists.
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 Backstrom and Calson, 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 twelfth 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.
Additional Photos (click to enlarge):
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.