October 31, 2014

CAPS: Eric Fehr Writes Children’s Book The Bulliest Dozer

Capitals Forward Eric Fehr Writes Children’s Book The Bulliest Dozer

The Bulliest Dozer, co-authored by Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr and Pamela Duncan Edwards, will be available for $10 beginning Thursday, Oct. 9, at Capitals home games, at WashingtonCaps.com and at the Washington Capitals Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Team Store at Verizon Center. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

The Bulliest Dozer, co-authored by Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr and Pamela Duncan Edwards, will be available for $10 beginning Thursday, Oct. 9, at Capitals home games, at WashingtonCaps.com and at the Washington Capitals Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Team Store at Verizon Center. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Bulliest Dozer, a children’s book co-authored by Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr and Pamela Duncan Edwards, will be available for purchase beginning Thursday, Oct. 9, in the United States. Fehr and Edwards wrote the book to raise funds for bullying prevention and to encourage positive behavior, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting charity.

The book tells the story of Bo Dozer and his peers at Ms. Crane’s Academy for Little Machines. Embarrassed by being unable to skate in preparation for a holiday concert on ice, Bo decides to become ‘A Mean Machine.’ Bo bullies other students until a concert day crisis helps him understand the importance of friendship.

“In The Bulliest Dozer, Bo learns the valuable lesson that acceptance and teamwork can lead to success,” said Fehr. “My hope is that this book will provide an opening for parents to discuss how important it is for children to accept one another and to treat their peers with respect. All forms of bullying including verbal abuse, cyberbullying and physical abuse are unacceptable, and whether the aggressor or the victim, I hope children read Bo’s story and realize there are steps they can take to reduce bullying.”

The Bulliest Dozer will be sold for $10 online at WashingtonCaps.com, at the Washington Capitals Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Team Store at Verizon Center during Capitals home games beginning Thursday, Oct. 9, when the Capitals host the Montreal Canadiens during Opening Night presented by GEICO. In addition there will be a limited number of autographed books available for purchase for $20 at WashingtonCaps.com, at the Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation table located behind section 104 on the main concourse at Verizon Center during Caps home games.

The book, illustrated by Kate Komarnicki, also will be available in Canada beginning Oct. 9 throughout Giant Tiger stores in Winnipeg, at Jonny’s Java in Winkler, Manitoba, and during the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings home games.

Funds from U.S. sales will benefit Playworks DC. Playworks is a national nonprofit that transforms recess to improve school climate. In 18 elementary schools throughout Washington, D.C., principals have partnered with Playworks to improve recess, work with teachers in the classroom, mentor young leaders and develop sports teams. By showing students new games that level the playing field for every kid, and teaching them social skills such as empathy, fair play and inclusiveness, Playworks helps to create a welcoming environment where every child gets to play, regardless of ability, and bullying behavior is much less likely to be considered. Studies have shown that this multi-disciplinary Playworks model reduces bullying and exclusionary behavior during recess by 43%.

Proceeds from Canada sales will benefit the Canadian Red Cross’s Violence, Bullying and Abuse Prevention program. The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, with a mission to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

To watch reaction from Capitals players as they received their first look at The Bulliest Dozer, visit MonumentalNetwork.com. For Fehr’s media availability on the book click here.

The launch of the book coincides with National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, a time when communities nationwide are encouraged to unite and take a stand for bullying prevention efforts through events, activities, outreach and education. Fehr designed a custom T-shirt as part of CustomInk’s “Be Good to Each Other” bullying prevention campaign, with proceeds benefiting CustomInk’s nonprofit partner – PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Fehr’s “Don’t be a Mean Machine!” T-shirt was inspired by a line from The Bulliest Dozer and will be available for purchase at www.booster.com/ericfehr.

In addition Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation is partnering with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights’ Citywide Bullying Prevention Program which aims to reduce incidents of bullying across the District by emphasizing prevention and proper procedures for responding when incidents occur. The program works with government agencies, District schools and youth-serving government grantees to ensure bullying prevention policies are adopted and implemented in ways consistent with best practices, as demonstrated in the District-wide Model Bullying Prevention Policy released in January 2013. The groundbreaking District-wide approach – moving beyond discipline and focusing on prevention – makes it one of the most unique and far-reaching government bullying prevention programs in the nation. More information is available at ohr.dc.gov/bullyingprevention. Playworks, the beneficiary of funds from The Bulliest Dozer’s U.S. sales, is a member of the program’s Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation supports the charitable efforts of the professional teams under its umbrella: the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards. MSE is committed to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and focuses on the following five pillars to maximize its impact and engagement with the community: youth basketball and hockey, education and scholarship, pediatric health and fitness, military and veterans’ affairs and hunger and homelessness.

CAPS: Alex Ovechkin Surprises 10-Year Old Girl with a Date

Ovechkin Surprises 10-year-old Washington Ice Dogs Player, Asks Her on a “Date”

Washington Capitals captain high fives 10-year old Ann as forward Nicklas Backstrom signs her jersey. As part of her date with Ovechkin Ann met numerous Capitals players in the locker room, including defenseman Mike Green (center). (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain high fives 10-year old Ann as forward Nicklas Backstrom signs her jersey. As part of her date with Ovechkin Ann met numerous Capitals players in the locker room, including defenseman Mike Green (center). (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin poses with his “date,” 10-year-old Ann, following the Capitals game versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 5. Ann asked Ovechkin on a date during a skate he hosted at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Sept. 11 and Ovechkin surprised her by granting her request during the Capitals’ final preseason game. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin poses with his “date,” 10-year-old Ann, following the Capitals game versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 5. Ann asked Ovechkin on a date during a skate he hosted at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Sept. 11 and Ovechkin surprised her by granting her request during the Capitals’ final preseason game. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and 10-year-old Ann high-five during a sushi date at Verizon Center on Oct. 5. Ovechkin and Ann met on Sept. 11, during an American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) skate with 60 children and adolescents hosted by Ovechkin. During the session, Ann skated to Ovechkin and invited him on a sushi date. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and 10-year-old Ann high-five during a sushi date at Verizon Center on Oct. 5. Ovechkin and Ann met on Sept. 11, during an American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) skate with 60 children and adolescents hosted by Ovechkin. During the session, Ann skated to Ovechkin and invited him on a sushi date. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin surprised 10-year-old Ann and asked her on a date during the Capitals’ game versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 5. Ovechkin and Ann, a native of Laurel, Md., met on Sept. 11, during an American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) skate with 60 children and adolescents hosted by Ovechkin at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the official training facility of the Capitals. During the session, Ann, who has the genetic disorder Downs Syndrome, skated to Ovechkin and invited him on a sushi date. Ovechkin granted her request during the Capitals final preseason game at Verizon Center.

The day began with Ann and her parents arriving at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, where they were given a tour of the Capitals locker room. During the tour of the facility and with Ann sitting in Ovechkin’s stall, the Capitals captain entered the locker room, surprising Ann with his appearance. He presented a personalized jersey and flowers to Ann to accept her date invitation and drove Ann to Verizon Center.

At Verizon Center Ann watched warmups from the Capitals bench sat in the Ovi’s Crazy 8’s seating section along with her family to watch the Capitals game. Following the game, after meeting numerous Capitals players and head coach Barry Trotz in the locker room, she and Ovechkin continued their date with a post-game meal of sushi in the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Owners Club.

“I was pretty surprised when Ann skated over and asked me out during our skate,” said Ovechkin. “I thought it was a good idea and decided to take her up on it. It was great to see a smile on her face. She is a terrific and funny kid. She seemed to have a lot of fun and I was very pleased to spend some time with her.”

The Sept. 11 ASHA event during which Ovechkin met Ann marked the first of many community initiatives he will continue to support throughout the 2014-15 season. Ovechkin created Ovi’s Crazy 8s in 2006, a program through which he purchases and donates eight Capitals season tickets to Most Valuable Kids, allowing fans who normally wouldn’t have access to tickets the opportunity to attend games. Ovechkin also supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation®, having most recently granted the wish of Washington, D.C., native Ellie Carney.

For a video recap of the date click here.

For a photo gallery of the date click here.

MSE Foundation Receives The Salvation Army’s Community Partner Award

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation received The Salvation Army’s Community Partner Award on May 13 at United in Service. United in Service was a Salvation Army award ceremony in recognition of volunteers and community partners for their compassionate work on behalf of The Salvation Army, which assists people in need throughout the Washington, D.C., region. (Photo Courtesy of MSE)

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation received The Salvation Army’s Community Partner Award on May 13 at United in Service. United in Service was a Salvation Army award ceremony in recognition of volunteers and community partners for their compassionate work on behalf of The Salvation Army, which assists people in need throughout the Washington, D.C., region. (Photo Courtesy of MSE)

ARLINGTON, Va. – Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation received The Salvation Army’s Community Partner Award on Tuesday, May 13, at United in Service.

United in Service was a Salvation Army award ceremony in recognition of volunteers and community partners for their compassionate work on behalf of The Salvation Army, which assists people in need throughout the Washington, D.C., region.

The Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards provided The Salvation Army with volunteer and financial support throughout their 2013-14 seasons. In March 2013 Capitals players delivered meals to the homeless through The Salvation Army’s Grate Patrol program, while Monumental Sports & Entertainment staff members volunteered in The Salvation Army’s Back-to-School Shopping event at Target in Hyattsville, Md., in July. In conjunction with the Capitals and Wizards toy drives, MSE Foundation donated $10,000 to The Salvation Army National Area Command in December. The Salvation Army served as the beneficiary of both the Capitals and Wizards toy drives and was a beneficiary of the Foundation’s Family-to-Family program, through which MSE teams adopt families for the holidays. The teams also hosted bell ringers as part of The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign at home games in December.

In 2013 MSE Foundation, along with the Leonsis Foundation, donated more than $1.5 million to local charities. MSE Foundation partners in 2014 include the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, Flashes of Hope, KaBOOM!, Playworks DC, the Potomac Valley Amateur Hockey Association and The Salvation Army.

MSE Foundation supports the charitable efforts of the professional teams under its umbrella: the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards. MSE is committed to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and focuses on the following five pillars to maximize its impact and engagement with the community: youth basketball and hockey, education and scholarship, pediatric health and fitness, military and veterans’ affairs and hunger and homelessness.

United in Service was held in conjunction of the 100th anniversary of World War I and The Salvation Army’s United War Service Program. The event was held to celebrate volunteers, to promote positive change and to discuss how to better serve veterans in the community. David Finkel, Pulitzer Prize award recipient and Washington Post journalist served as the event’s keynote speaker.

The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command assisted more than 85,000 individuals last year from families living across the Greater Washington region by providing help and hope through a diverse range of social services. The organization offers emergency eviction and utility cut-off prevention assistance; grocery, clothing and furniture vouchers; meals for the hungry and homeless; support for the disabled, elderly and ill; drug and alcohol rehabilitation; disaster relief; transitional housing for single mothers with children; and character building opportunities for youth.

Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation Participate in MLK Day of Service

Washington Capitals Hall-of-Famer Rod Langway, West Education Campus principal Andria Caruthers, Washington Bullets alumnus Bob Dandridge and Washington, D.C., mayor Vincent C. Gray at the MSE Foundation MLK Day of Service project. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Network)

Washington Capitals Hall-of-Famer Rod Langway, West Education Campus principal Andria Caruthers, Washington Bullets alumnus Bob Dandridge and Washington, D.C., mayor Vincent C. Gray at the MSE Foundation MLK Day of Service project. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Network)

Volunteers working on a mural created by Susan Schwerin at West Education Campus during the MSE Foundation MLK Day of Service project.  (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Network)

Volunteers working on a mural created by Susan Schwerin at West Education Campus during the MSE Foundation MLK Day of Service project.
(Photo Courtesy of Monumental Network)

Capitals Hall-of-Famer Rod Langway working with volunteers during the MSE Foundation MLK Day of Service project. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Network)

Capitals Hall-of-Famer Rod Langway working with volunteers during the MSE Foundation MLK Day of Service project. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Network)

Washington Bullets alumnus Bob Dandridge and volunteers during the MSE Foundation MLK Day of Service project. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Network)

Washington Bullets alumnus Bob Dandridge and volunteers during the MSE Foundation MLK Day of Service project. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Network)

 

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation and Playworks Washington, D.C., Participate in MLK Day of Service Project at West Education Campus
Bullets alumnus Dandridge, Capitals alumnus Langway and Washington, D.C., mayor Gray attend

Washington, D.C. – Washington Bullets alumnus Bob Dandridge, Capitals Hall-of-Famer Rod Langway and Washington, D.C., mayor Vincent C. Gray participated in a MLK Day of Service project hosted by Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation and Playworks Washington, D.C., at West Education Campus in northwest D.C. on Monday, Jan. 20.

“Monumental is such a well-known and well-respected organization in the city,” said Gray. “Having the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics as a part of their operation, it means so much and it demands so much respect in this city. And what I think it does is it encourages other people to step up and volunteer also.”

They were joined by 50 Capitals, Mystics and Wizards fans who took part in tasks that included painting murals, organizing the library and assembling and painting benches. The murals were generously created and donated by Susan Schwerin, who has created murals for MSE Foundation at multiple schools throughout the District of Columbia.

“It’s a good feeling when you spend time doing something that benefits the kids,” said Langway. “It makes you feel that you’re part of the community and it’s a great opportunity to meet some of the fans and people that give their time.”

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation supports the charitable efforts of the professional teams under its umbrella: the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards. MSE Foundation is committed to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and focuses on the following five pillars to maximize its impact on the community: education and scholarship, hunger and homelessness, military and veterans’ affairs, pediatric health and fitness and youth basketball and hockey.

To watch a video recap of the service project visit MonumentalNetwork.com.

Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that transforms schools by providing play and physical activity at recess and throughout the school day. Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. Playworks currently partners with 14 public and public charter schools in Washington, D.C., serving 5,000 students each day.

Caps, Mystics and Wizards Shop for Families in DC Area

Washington Capitals wives, girlfriends and staff pose with Walmart employees during Monumental Sports & Entertainment's Family-to-Family initiative. Attendees included (front row l-r) Ashley Beagle, wife of Capitals forward Jay Beagle, Brandi Holtby, wife of Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, Mandy Alzner, wife of Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner, Courtney Parrie, fiancee of Capitals defenseman Mike Green, Claire Volpatti, wife of Capitals forward Aaron Volpatti, and Gina Nucci, girlfriend of Capitals defenseman John Carlson. (Photo courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals wives, girlfriends and staff pose with Walmart employees during Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s Family-to-Family initiative. Attendees included (front row l-r) Ashley Beagle, wife of Capitals forward Jay Beagle, Brandi Holtby, wife of Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, Mandy Alzner, wife of Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner, Courtney Parrie, fiancee of Capitals defenseman Mike Green, Claire Volpatti, wife of Capitals forward Aaron Volpatti, and Gina Nucci, girlfriend of Capitals defenseman John Carlson. (Photo courtesy of Washington Capitals)

MSEFoundation2

MSE FOUNDATION KICKS OFF HOLIDAY SEASON
WITH WALMART SHOPPING EVENT

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation kicked off the holiday season with a shopping spree at Walmart for its annual Family-to-Family initiative on Nov. 21. This holiday season the wives and girlfriends of Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards players and coaches will assist in shopping, wrapping and delivering gifts to underserved families in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Mandy Alzner, wife of Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner, Brandi Holtby, wife of Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, Monika Hybnerova, girlfriend of Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth, Gina Nucci, girlfriend of Capitals defenseman John Carlson, Courtney Parrie, fiancée of Capitals defenseman Mike Green, and Claire Volpatti, wife of Capitals forward Aaron Volpatti, shopped for 20 families at the Walmart Supercenter located in Tyson’s Corner on Nov 21.

Combined the participants spent nearly $20,000 on gifts for local families. Children will receive clothing, educational items and toys, while parents and guardians will receive clothing and household items along with giftcards.

“It’s a great opportunity,” said Parrie. “It’s so special. It’s a great time of the year with the holidays and being able to give back to the community is a wonderful opportunity.”

The trip marked the third year the Capitals, Mystics and Wizards have joined forces to participate in the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Family-to-Family program.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation supports the charitable efforts of the professional teams under its umbrella: the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards. MSE Foundation is committed to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and focuses on the following five pillars to maximize its impact on the community: education and scholarship, hunger and homelessness, military and veterans’ affairs, pediatric health and fitness and youth basketball and hockey. In 2013 MSE Foundation, along with the Leonsis Foundation, will donate more than $1.5 million to local charities. More than $1 million has been donated to date.

CAPS: Washington Capitals Casino Night Tickets on Sale Today

Caps Casino Night is always a fun event. Fans get dressed up and mingle with tux-wearing players while having a great time and giving to charity. If you’ve never been and are thinking about going, here are my photos from Caps Casino Night 2012 and 2011. Tickets go on sale today so get them quickly because they will sell out.

Ovi getting a lesson? (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Ovi getting a poker lesson? (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Capitals Casino Night Tickets Available Dec. 3

Presale for March 12, 2014 Casino Night begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday

ARLINGTON, Va. – Capitals Casino Night tickets will be available beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, for past attendees and Friday, Dec. 6 for season ticket holders. The presale will last until 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10, when tickets go on sale to the public.

Capitals Casino Night will take place on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel. The event features gaming with the players, a raffle, a silent auction and a live auction.

Games include blackjack, Texas hold’em, roulette, craps and slots. There also will be video game stations and auctions featuring Capitals game-used jerseys, sticks and skates as well as autographed items from other professional athletes. A live auction will offer fans the chance to win unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences with players and coaches. In addition fans can also win autographed memorabilia, hotel stays and gift certificates through the raffle.

The Cavalier Ballroom with Wii gaming stations, the raffle and silent auction will open at 6:30 p.m. The Commonwealth Ballroom with casino games and live entertainment will open at 7 p.m. with the event concluding at 10:30 p.m.

Tickets are limited. Attendees must be at least 21 to attend Casino Night, and dress is cocktail attire. To purchase tickets visit WashingtonCaps.com.

Once tickets are purchased they will be available for pick-up at the MSE Foundation table located behind section 104 on the main concourse during home games starting March 2. Tickets will not be mailed. If attendees can not pick up tickets at a home game during March, tickets will be placed in will call and available for pick-up the night of the event.

All funds raised from the 2014 Capitals Casino Night will benefit MSE Foundation. MSE Foundation is the nonprofit arm of the Washington Capitals that offers unique resources and programs to various charities and nonprofit organizations through the Washington, D.C., area on behalf of the Washington Capitals. Each ticket, less benefit received of $100, is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

CAPS: Washington Capitals Alumni May and Sabourin Host Hockey School

Washington Capitals alumnus Alan May instructs a St. Mary’s School student on stickhandling during a Hockey School assembly on Oct. 23. 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 technique. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals alumnus Alan May instructs a St. Mary’s School student on stickhandling during a Hockey School assembly on Oct. 23. 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 technique. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

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Washington Capitals Alumni Alan May and Ken Sabourin Host Hockey School
at St. Mary’s School in Landover Hills, Md.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals alumni Alan May and Ken Sabourin visited St. Mary’s School in Landover Hills, Md., on Oct. 23, to host a Capitals Hockey School assembly.

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 technique.

May and Sabourin directed a floor hockey session in the school’s gymnasium with approximately 150 elementary school children.

During the assembly May and Sabourin guided the students through several drills focusing on stickhandling, passing and shooting prior to inviting them to demonstrate what they learned.

Students, who have been practicing hockey as part of their physical education curriculum, participated in a brief scrimmage joined by May and Sabourin as their teammates. With May representing the girls team and Sabourin representing the boys, the game ended in a tie.

“I thought it was a great turnout with the whole school here,” said Sabourin. “The kids brought a lot of energy. They were enthusiastic and really appreciated that we came by.”

Following the clinic, the Capitals donated a set of street hockey equipment to St. Mary’s School in Landover Hills. The Capitals also provided each student with a hockey 101 booklet, a squishy puck and an autograph from May and Sabourin.

The assembly was the first Capitals Hockey School of the 2013-14 academic year. The Capitals host one Hockey School visit each month between October and May and donate street hockey equipment to each participating school.

The 2013-14 season marks the seventh consecutive year the Capitals have conducted their Hockey School program. The Capitals have hosted more than 70 clinics and reached more than 10,000 students in the past five years.

CAPS/WIZARDS: Washington Capitals and Wizards Players Team Up with KaBOOM to Build New Playground

Volunteers put the final touches on a Monumental Sports themed playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. The playground’s design is based on drawings created by children who participated in a design day event in July and will provide more than 1,200 children with a place to play. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Volunteers put the final touches on a Monumental Sports themed playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. The playground’s design is based on drawings created by children who participated in a design day event in July and will provide more than 1,200 children with a place to play. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Capitals and Wizards Players Team Up with KaBOOM! to Build New Playground
at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals forwards Jay Beagle, Aaron Volpatti and Tom Wilson and Washington Wizards guards Bradley Beal and Glen Rice, Jr. joined more than 250 volunteers from Eagle Academy Public Charter School and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the Congress Heights neighborhood on Thursday, Sept. 26, to build a new playground at the Eagle Center at McGogney.

The new playground’s design is based on drawings created by children who participated in a Design Day event in July. Since the school reopened, students have been playing indoors or on a field with no play structure. The new equipment will provide more than 1,200 children in the neighborhood with a safe place to play.

Volunteers including the Capitals and Wizards players completed the build in six hours, including moving 160 cubic yards of mulch, mixing more than 1,500 pounds of concrete and assembling the play structure.

“The new playground offers kids a great place to be active,” said Beagle. “It was nice to see so many people come together for a cause, and we hope the children enjoy playing outside on the equipment.”

“I am glad to see all of the ideas from the kids from Design Day come to life,” said Beal. “The participation of the volunteers and the excitement of the students made it a great day.”

The playground is the first built by KaBOOM! and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, but the third built with the assistance of the Washington Capitals. MSE Foundation served as the funding partner for the playground, which cost $83,500.

Washington Capitals forwards Aaron Volpatti, Tom Wilson and Jay Beagle assist with constructing a playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. The playground is the first built by KaBOOM! and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, but the third built with the assistance of the Washington Capitals. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Capitals forwards Aaron Volpatti, Tom Wilson and Jay Beagle assist with constructing a playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. The playground is the first built by KaBOOM! and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, but the third built with the assistance of the Washington Capitals. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Capitals forwards Aaron Volpatti and Tom Wilson assist with constructing a playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation served as the funding partner for the playground, which cost $83,500. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Capitals forwards Aaron Volpatti and Tom Wilson assist with constructing a playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation served as the funding partner for the playground, which cost $83,500. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Wizards players Bradley Beal (L) and Glenn Rice, Jr. help paint a table near the playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Earlier this summer, Beal assisted the students with the design of the playground. The build is the first joint effort by KaBOOM! and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Wizards players Bradley Beal (L) and Glenn Rice, Jr. help paint a table near the playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Earlier this summer, Beal assisted the students with the design of the playground. The build is the first joint effort by KaBOOM! and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Congressional Hockey Challenge bridges the gap for a good cause

On April 27, while the rest of Verizon Center was preparing for Saturday evening’s Washington Capitals game, the hallway adjacent to the Capitals locker room was a frenzy of excitement. Intermittently, a figure, alternately in a red or white jersey,  lumbering on hockey skates, would make their way out to the hallway to get some air, or to speak to a reporter.

It was a bit unusual for 1:00 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon, considering the main attraction wasn’t until 7:00 p.m. that night, when the Washington Capitals would play their final game of the regular season versus the Boston Bruins. The figures wearing red and white jerseys were not members of the Capitals or Bruins. They were there for something a little bit different – a hockey game for charity, the 5th Annual Congressional Hockey Challenge.

Founded in 2009, the Congressional Hockey Challenge raises funding for college scholarships and hockey programming, and has raised more than $400, 000 for its causes. This year’s event was held at Verizon Center for the second year in a row. Former Boston Bruin and hockey icon Willie O’Ree performed the ceremonial puck drop and also attended the Capitals game against the Bruins that evening.

The game stars a team of lawmakers (members of Congress, Senators and staff from legislative and executive branches) pitted against a team of lobbyists. It seems apropos to blend the rough-and-tumble sport of hockey with the rough-and-tumble sport of politics in the nation’s capital.

One might be surprised to note that all of the participants on both teams are lifelong hockey players. Congressman Pat Meehan (PA), was an NHL referee for two years before going into politics, and said the CHC helped him rediscover his passion for the sport. “I hadn’t skated for some time before I came back to this game. I grew up playing hockey, and I truly stayed with it,” he said. “Hockey was a big part of my life for a long period of time, but when I came here, I had given it up and I hadn’t skated in five years.”

“When they knew that I had a hockey background, they asked me to get involved with the game, so I came out and then made a fool of myself. But I’ve actually had an awful lot of fun, and it’s been a reason for me to get back into it,” said Meehan, who admitted his status assisted him in making the Lawmakers team. “It’s easier for me to get on the team because if you’re in Congress and can lace your skates up, I think you get on,” he chuckled.

Erik Paulsen, a congressman from Minnesota, had a recruiting experience similar to Meehan’s. ”I got recruited last year cause I’m from Minnesota, so they just figure everyone from Minnesota plays hockey. I grew up playing on the lake but never played organized hockey,” he said. “It’s for a good cause, and now I’m playing once a week out here.”

If you’re not a member of Congress, however, the competition to make the team is tougher. “It’s probably one of the only big hockey games outside of the Caps that happens, at least in our level of play these days, so everyone wants to play. In the small group that does play hockey, there is a waiting list,” said Michelle McGann, of the National Republican Congressional Committee, a member of the Lawmakers team.

McGann’s involvement with the team came almost by accident – she merely wanted to play hockey but ended up on the waiting list for the annual game.

“I moved to DC about two years ago and I’ve been playing hockey my entire life, so when I came down here, I tried to find a competitive league and similar to Melissa, I heard of this man named Nick Lewis that we were supposed to talk to about getting involved,” she said. “I spoke to him, and Tim Regan who works on the Hill, and started coming to these Monday night skates, and a lot of the players in this game are pulled from the Monday night skate. So I got on a waiting list and just crossed my fingers that I would finally make the cut.”

Every Monday night, a mixed group of lawmakers and lobbyists skates at Mount Vernon Ice Arena in Alexandria, VA. Many of the players in the annual Challenge game are pulled from these skates, according to McGann.

“It’s basically an exclusive pickup league,” said McGann. “There’s a group of maybe 40 or 50 people in the email chain, and we hope to have about 30 people come every night, and you just wear dark or white and you just play for an hour and a half.”

Melissa Lavinson, a member of the Lobbyists team, said attendance at the Monday night skates is unpredictable, but everyone is glad to for the opportunity to play hockey, even with a short bench.

“I’ve been to some of the night skates where there’s maybe about 12 people and you wind up playing 6-on-5-on-5, one sub for an hour,” she said. “It’s just fun.”

McGann agreed.  “Everyone understands that you’re just out there to get a good workout and to be on the ice, so it’s great for girls, we’re obviously smaller than a lot of men, so they’re respectful and you don’t have to be too concerned about getting injured.”

Even though the weekly skates are primarily casual and low-key, the competitive nature of each player emerges when it comes to competing in the actual Congressional Challenge game.

“Everyone who plays a sport always has a competitive edge, and you realize that it’s been dormant for so long until you get in a situation where score matters,” said McGann. “You kind of put aside your friendships in some way and you want to win.”

John Goodwin, who represented the Lobbyists this year, said the Congressional game is kind of a big deal for the players, even though many do not have the chance to play as much as they’d like.

“For a bunch of amateurs and older folks, its intense competition, everyone takes it seriously, and we’re playing real hockey,” he said. “Everybody looks forward to it.”

Washington Capitals alumnus and CSN Washington analyst Alan May took some time out of his busy game-day duties and volunteered to coach the Lawmakers team this year. His coaching philosophy was all about moral support, making sure the players knew when to change lines – and scoring goals, of course.

“They all know how to play hockey, they’re all lifelong lovers of the game, they all played youth hockey, so it’s just a matter of just being there to support these guys,” said May.

May predicted it would be an “ugly game,” and an ugly game it was – for the Lawmakers. May’s pupils were shelled for double-digit goals, and fell to the Lobbyists, 11-3 in front of a modest cluster of rowdy spectators.

There is a trophy that the winning team gets to keep for the year, which is more for bragging rights than anything. As it stands, the Lobbyists lead the Challenge series record 3-2.

Photos from the event, courtesy of C&I Studios, can be found here.

 Katie Brown is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page. She grew up in Virginia and Maryland, currently resides in Arlington, VA, and developed a love for the sport of hockey as a youngster while watching her brothers play. She combined her enthusiasm for the game with her love of writing after college. Katie has covered the Capitals as credentialed media for two seasons for several area blogs before joining the DSP staff. Katie works at a nonprofit organization by day but the rest of her time is devoted to watching, writing, and talking about hockey and perfecting her mean one-timer. You can follow Katie on Twitter@katie_brown47.

CAPS: Brooks Laich and the Washington Capitals Make Local Teen’s Wish Come True

During the Capitals Fan Appreciation Night Jersey Off Our Backs ceremony, Capitals forward Brooks Laich presents Emily, 17, with his jersey. Through the Capitals and Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic, Emily was able to meet Laich. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

During the Capitals Fan Appreciation Night Jersey Off Our Backs ceremony, Capitals forward Brooks Laich presents Emily, 17, with his jersey. Through the Capitals and Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic, Emily was able to meet Laich. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich and Keymar Md., native Emily watch the Capitals versus Bruins game at Verizon Center on April 27. The Capitals and Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic partnered to make Emily’s wish to attend a Capitals game and meet Laich come true. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich and Keymar Md., native Emily watch the Capitals versus Bruins game at Verizon Center on April 27. The Capitals and Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic partnered to make Emily’s wish to attend a Capitals game and meet Laich come true. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

 

Brooks Laich and the Capitals Make Local Teen’s Wish Come True

When the Washington Capitals began warm-ups during their final game of the regular season, a special voice helped to introduce them.

Emily, a 17-year-old Keymar, Md., native, joined public address announcer Wes Johnson in welcoming the team to the ice.

Emily was at her first Capitals game through the Capitals and Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic’s commitment to make Emily’s wish to meet Capitals forward Brooks Laich come true.

Emily suffers from Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract.

Due to complications, Emily has had most of her colon removed and has had additional coronary, venous and arterial infections and clots.

“Hockey is my favorite sport and I really enjoy it,” said Emily. “Everyone in my family likes it so I figured it’d be a good thing for us to all do.”

The evening included several surprises for Emily and her family.

After riding the Olympia ice resurfacer during the first intermission and watching the game with her family from Ovi’s Crazy 8s section, Emily was invited to the press box where she met Laich. The two then watched the third period of the game together, along with Emily’s father.

“Emily was awesome,” said Laich following the experience. “A huge hockey fan – a very bright, intelligent girl. It was an honor for me to meet her.”

After the game Laich presented Emily with his jersey during the team’s Jerseys Off Our Backs ceremony, part of Fan Appreciation Night. Emily’s whole family then met with Nicklas Backstrom, Jason Chimera, Mike Green, Braden Holtby, Laich and Mike Ribeiro.

Founded in 1983, the mission of Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. The Foundation serves children who reside in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia and has granted the wishes of more than 7,600 local children fighting life-threatening medical conditions such as cancer, pediatric AIDS, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Duchene’s muscular dystrophy, kidney and heart disease.

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