The Washington Capitals strive for success both on and off the ice. As a professional sports franchise with deep roots in and around the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, the Capitals are committed to making a difference in the local community. It is our goal not only to build an excellent team with positive role models for young people, but also to create and maintain community programs that encourage participation in hockey, serve to educate today’s youth and assist those in need.
It is this philosophy that led the franchise to establish Caps Care, the branch of the organization that manages community involvement. Recognizing the community as our most important asset, Caps Care creates programs that are designed to give back to the very community that has supported our team for so many years.
Throughout the year Capitals players, coaches and their families, along with our alumni, staff and mascot, dedicate themselves to making a difference in the lives of the people they encounter. Through a diverse array of causes like education, fundraising, supporting local youth hockey groups, hosting community drives or simply spreading good cheer, the Capitals are committed to being a positive influence and contributor in our community.
The Washington Capitals take part in numerous programs throughout the year that benefit the local community.
The Washington Capitals launched Caps@School during the 2009-10 season and brought the excitement of Caps Hockey to local classrooms in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Caps@School is a free, online curriculum-enhancing teaching tool for first- through sixth-grade classes.
In 2011-12 more than 1,300 elementary school educators used the Caps@School program to access resources that combined the sport of hockey and Washington Capitals players to teach math, science, language, art, health and physical education, up from the nearly 900 educators who used the program in 2010-11. This unique program offered engaging, classroom-ready lesson plans featuring Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Mike Green, Brooks Laich, Michal Neuvirth, Alex Ovechkin and Joel Ward that captured the attention of students. Furthermore, Caps@School allowed classes that completed lesson plans the opportunity to win Caps prizes. Each month from October through March, at least one eligible class won a Chipotle burrito party with autographed memorabilia delivered to their classroom by either a player or team mascot Slapshot. Caps@School also offered educational stories, Caps player quick facts and motivational posters that educators could utilize in their classrooms.
Last season more than an estimated 109,000 students from public, private and charter schools were reached through Caps@School, a significant increase from the 69,000 who were reached in 2010-11.
Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., teachers can enroll their classes for free and start to download lesson plans immediately at the Caps@School website at www.CapsAtSchool.com.
The Washington Capitals have hosted more than 70 clinics and reached more than 10,000 students in the D.C. area through the team’s Hockey School program since its inception in 2007. Hockey School is a free program, designed to be both instructional and interactive, with the goal of exposing students to floor hockey and teaching proper technique. Each Hockey School visit consists of an interactive floor hockey clinic focusing on stickhandling, passing and shooting.
This season Caps coaches, players and alumni, Slapshot and team representatives will host Hockey School sessions between September and May for groups of 200 fifth- through eighth-graders.
Each student who participates in Hockey School will receive the following:
- An autographed player card signed by a Caps player or alumnus attending the clinic
- A hockey 101 booklet that outlines the rules of street hockey and ice hockey
- One coupon for a free open skate session at a local participating rink
- One coupon for a free learn to skate or learn to play introductory class at a local rink
- A Hockey School squishy puck
In addition, each school will receive a Capitals Hockey School banner and a set of street hockey equipment.
Most Valuable Kids
The Washington Capitals have teamed up with Most Valuable Kids, Inc., to provide a unique opportunity for Caps season-ticket holders to donate unused game tickets to underserved children, recuperating soldiers and active military and their families in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Tickets that would otherwise go unused are redistributed by Most Valuable Kids to either injured soldiers or active military and their families; or to boys and girls, 18 and younger, through various local nonprofit organizations. Most Valuable Kids’ mission is to provide an unparalleled reward system for local underprivileged children and children’s organizations that show exemplary behavior, spirit, and community service. In offering children the opportunity to come face to face with athletic and entertainment role models, Most Valuable Kids’ program fosters the development of self-esteem and a deeper understanding of the benefits of hard work and perseverance during adolescent and teenage years. For more information on Most Valuable Kids go to www.MostValuableKids.org.
Community drives are another way that the Capitals partner with fans who want to get involved in helping the local community. By collecting canned food, toys or even by allowing fans the opportunity to donate blood, the team places high priority on making the D.C. area a better place and helping those who are in need.
Canned Food Drive
Every year the Washington Capitals hold a food drive to collect canned foods and other nonperishable food items to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. The Capital Area Food Bank is the largest public nonprofit food and nutrition education resource in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Last year, the Capital Area Food Bank distributed 33 million pounds of food, including 15 million pounds of fresh produce, to more than 478,000 people through a network of more than 700 nonprofit agencies. The Capital Area Food Bank has served the National Capital region since 1980. In 2012 the Capitals teamed up with Comcast SportsNet and Mix 107.3 to collect food for the Capital Area Food Bank, hosting collections at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and other rink partner locations. The Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation also made a $10,000 donation to the food bank.
In conjunction with the food drive the Capitals hosted an event at the Capital Area Food Bank in an effort to combat hunger in the Washington, D.C., area and serve those in need. Caps alumnus Peter Bondra, along with mascot Slapshot, Comcast SportsNet’s Joe Beninati and Jill Sorenson, Mix 107.3’s Chilli Amar and 50 Caps fans spent part of their day at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C. The group sorted 10,000 pounds of food and assembled 600 bags for the food bank’s Weekend Bag program. This program benefits D.C. area children who receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch throughout the week at school, providing them with nutritious, kid-friendly food bags to carry home for the weekend when school lunches are not available to them.
Toy Drive presented by GEICO
The holiday season is a time for giving and the Washington Capitals want to do their part in bringing a smile to the face of every child. The Capitals partnered with The Salvation Army for their 13th annual Toy Drive presented by GEICO in 2012. To kick off the toy drive campaign, Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates along with Comcast SportsNet’s Joe Beninati, area commander for The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command Maj. Lewis Reckline, Capitals mascot Slapshot, Red Rockers and the GEICO Gecko, shopped for toys to benefit The Salvation Army and the Capitals Toy Drive. Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation donated more than $10,000 that the shoppers spent on more than 350 toys.
Following the shopping event, the Washington Capitals, GEICO, Comcast SportsNet and Elliot in the Morning hosted a Toy Drive at the Washington AHL Showcase game at Verizon Center. Fans donated 428 toys which were distributed as holiday gifts to children in need in the Washington, D.C., area.
Children’s National Medical Center Visit: The Capitals have been visiting Children’s National Medical Center since 1984. The trip to Children’s has become an annual tradition, which the players, coaches and owners look forward to each season. In 2013, Caps players and their better halves visited the hospital to spend time playing video games, doing arts and crafts, signing autographs and taking pictures with patients.
Hockey Fights Cancer
The Washington Capitals support the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative. Hockey Fights Cancer is a joint initiative founded in December 1998 by the NHL and the Players’ Association to raise money and awareness for national and local organizations involved in cancer care and research. It is supported by NHL Member Clubs, NHL Alumni, the NHL Officials’ Association, professional hockey trainers and equipment managers, corporate marketing partners, broadcast partners and fans throughout North America. To date more than $12 million has been raised to support national and local cancer research institutions, children’s hospitals, player charities and local cancer organizations.
The Caps partnered with Flashes of Hope during the team’s 2012 Hockey Fights Cancer Month initiative. As part of the Caps Hockey Fights Cancer efforts, Washington Capitals alumnus and NHL Hall of Famer Rod Langway, fellow alumnus Craig Laughlin and mascot Slapshot participated in a Flashes of Hope photo shoot with children receiving treatment in the Hematology/Oncology Care Unit at Children’s National Medical Center. Nearly 20 families were photographed during the session which aimed to help the patients feel better about their changing appearance by celebrating it.
The goal of Flashes of Hope is to photograph every child with cancer until every child is cured. Flashes of Hope provides free portrait packages to children with cancer and their families. For families of terminally ill children, it’s especially important to have a portrait that forever preserves the beauty, grace and dignity of their child.
The Capitals helped create the Washington, D.C. chapter of Flashes of Hope and has funded the organization for the past three years.
Hockey is for Everyone
Hockey is for Everyone™ (HIFE) is the National Hockey League’s official youth development program. HIFE provides support and unique programming to nonprofit youth hockey organizations across North America that are committed to offering children of all backgrounds opportunities to play hockey. The initiative is supported by NHL member clubs, players, NHL alumni and fans. The HIFE initiative leverages the sport of hockey as a catalyst to help children learn essential life skills, education and the core values of hockey: commitment, perseverance and teamwork.
The Hockey is for Everyone initiative embraces three specific disciplines of youth hockey: diverse hockey, special hockey and disabled hockey. The adult hockey component of the initiative exclusively supports two worthy programs, the U.S. National Amputee Hockey Team and the USA Warriors Hockey Team.
To celebrate this initiative, the National Hockey League hosts the annual Hockey is for Everyone Month in February. The league-wide initiative includes numerous activities to promote the diversity of the game that involve NHL clubs, players, alumni, fans and grass-roots diversity programs, all with the goal of raising awareness and celebrating the growth of the game.
The Caps teamed up for the third straight year with Dreams for Kids (DFK) to host Extreme Recess Hockey in February at Kettler Capitals Iceplex as part of Hockey is for Everyone Month. Washington Capitals forward Jason Chimera, defenseman Tomas Kundratek, goaltender Braden Holtby and mascot Slapshot skated with children with physical and developmental disabilities following a Capitals practice. Many participants were skating for the first time, and the Caps players helped them get acclimated to the ice while working with them on basic hockey skills. The Capitals provided T-shirts for all of the participants and volunteers.
Caps forward Joel Ward visited Fort Dupont Ice Arena for the second straight season to help run a practice for 60 children from the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club and Kids on Ice program. The practice was led by Fort Dupont ice hockey director Neal Henderson, whose club is the oldest minority hockey program in North America.
The Washington Capitals Hockey is For Everyone efforts culminated with the Caps Hockey is for Everyone Night on Feb. 26. The evening featured various local youth hockey programs including the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, the Wheaton Ice Arena Learn-to-Play program, Special Hockey Washington and the Richmond Royals Hockey Club.
For more information on any of the above initiatives, please contact Nadia Wajid, community relations director, at email@example.com.