Capitals Forward Joel Ward Visits Fort Dupont Ice Arena to Announce the Collaboration of the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club and Kids on Ice Hockey Program
“It was great to be part of something that gets everyone involved in hockey,” Ward said. “I got to skate with the kids after the press conference and it was easy to see how much they already love the sport.”
NHL Network analyst and NHL alumnus Kevin Weekes and Ward 7 D.C. Councilmember Yvette Alexander were also in attendance for the announcement and skate clinic. NHL vice president of community affairs and diversity programming Ken Martin and cause manager Rob Wooley were also in attendance for the event.
Washington Capitals Charities donated a total of $45,000 to the initiative. Ten thousand dollars was raised through the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation and more than $34,000 through the team’s 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs Beard-a-thon. The NHL also donated $7,500 to Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena.
Fort Dupont Ice Arena is the only full-size indoor ice arena in Washington, D.C., and the Cannons are the oldest minority youth hockey program in North America.
Founded in 1978 by Neal Henderson, the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Program (FDIHP) is a development program that provides local and inner-city youth in Washington, D.C., the opportunity to participate in an organized ice hockey program. The FDICH is the oldest ice hockey program that is a member of the Hockey is for Everyone initiative. The program’s goal is to teach young people discipline, self-esteem, a sense of purpose and to offer an incentive to excel academically. The benefits of such a program extend far beyond the rink – a vast majority of the children who have participated in the FDIHP have continued on to higher education and are confident, productive citizens.
The home rink of the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, the Fort Dupont Ice Arena, is situated on National Park Service land and operated by Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, a nonprofit organization. The arena is the only public, indoor ice rink in the city of Washington. Fort Dupont Ice Arena has been named an America’s Promise “Safe Place” – a safe place for young people with structured activities during non-school hours. This designation was awarded to the arena in December of 2001 by America’s Promise, the Alliance for Youth organization founded by General Colin L. Powell. It serves as an anchor in its community and as a place of refuge for children in need by providing skating instruction and classroom activities free of charge, or at highly affordable rates.