Capitals Continue Commitment to Community During 2021-22 Season – NHL.com

During the 2021-22 season, the Washington Capitals, its players, and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation (MSE Foundation) continued to give back to the community and grow participation in hockey throughout the region. WashCaps.com takes a look back at highlights:
So Kids Can: So Kids Can members Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and Elliot in the Morning’s Elliot Segal continued to raise funds for So Kids Can during the 2021-22 season. Through So Kids Can, the players and Segal pledged $50 per Capitals win during the regular-season and $100 per win during the playoffs to a youth-focused nonprofit. Fans were also encouraged to donate at washcaps.com/sokidscan. This season’s campaign raised $13,619.
Forty Three’s Friends: Through his Forty Three’s Friends program, Tom Wilson invited children affiliated with Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and United Heroes League to participate in a zoom call with him. Children from Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic were surprised with jerseys from Wilson; children from United Heroes League later attended a Capitals game.
Video: Forty Three’s Friends | Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic
Dowd’s Crowd: A Dowd’s Crowd fundraiser, created by Capitals forward Nic Dowd and his wife Paige, raised $11,029 for future programming.
Additionally, in Honor of World Autism Day, Dowd’s Crowd granted $1,500 to the Key Center School’s Animal Assisted Instruction Program. The Key Center Animal Assisted Instruction program uses a dog to work with students to help them achieve their physical, social, and emotional goals. The Key Center’s therapist, Kris Campesi, is a retired teacher, who is professionally trained in Animal Assisted therapy. Her dog, Micah, is specially trained to work with students with special needs. Working with the Key Center teachers, Kris and Micah help address specific educational goals along with physical and occupational therapy goals. The program is funded completely through donations, and the Dowds Crowd grant will cover 25% of its annual operating budget.
Video: Dowd’s Crowd
The Assist: The Assist Sensory Kits, founded by Paige Dowd and Kodette LaBarbera, are now available at Capital One Arena during Capitals home games for fans with sensory needs. Fans can request a kit at the Guest Services stand outside of section 115 on the main concourse. The Assist Sensory Kits include a Bauer drawstring backpack, Bauer foam puck, Your Ears Rock 3M headphones, sunglasses, a fidget toy, a social story, Kleenex, a sanitary wipe, crayons and a voucher for free popcorn at Capital One Arena.
Dowd and LaBarbera founded The Assist with the goal of making everyone feel comfortable and confident when attending an event in any city. The kits are also available for purchase at https://theassistsensorykit.com/.
Hath’s Heroes: In January Hath’s Heroes announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the nonprofit Mindful Junkie to provide mindfulness training to D.C. area first responders. Through the partnership, Hath’s Heroes will fund multiple Mindful Junkie seminars led by Mindful Junkie founder Gina Rollo White. The trainings will be made available to all firefighters within DC Fire and EMS and will deliver Tactical Brain Training® (TBT), which empowers first responders to better handle work-based trauma.
In December of 2021, Hath’s Heroes hosted the Frederick Fire Department at a Capitals game to honor Battalion Chief Laird, a 21-year veteran of the department who was fatally injured in the line of duty in August of 2021. More than 40 firefighters from the Frederick County Fire Department attended the game to honor the Laird family. Additionally, the family was presented with a custom No. 21 “W” Laird team-signed jersey.

As of April 2022, Hath’s Heroes has donated more than 400 lunches to local firehouses in Washington, D.C. and contributed auction items, including a team-signed Hathaway game-used stick and signed Hath’s Heroes pucks to the annual D.C. Fire Hockey tournament. Proceeds from the auction benefited the D.C. Burn Foundation.
The Hathaway’s also partnered with the Washington Capitals to create a co-branded Hath’s Heroes and Capitals merchandise shop. Available online during the last two months of the regular season, proceeds from the merchandise benefitted the Baltimore Fire Foundation, which is providing immediate financial support to the families of the Baltimore City firefighters that were injured in the line of duty in January of 2022.
Biscuit: In September, the Capitals partnered with America’s VetDogs, a New York based non-profit that provides service dogs to veterans and first responders with disabilities, to train future service dog ‘Biscuit.’ Biscuit, born on July 23, made his debut with the Capitals on Sept. 22, the first day of the Capitals 2021-22 training camp. Biscuit is undergoing basic training and socialization with the Capitals staff, players and public to become a confident and calm future service dog.

Canine Calendar: MSE Foundation’s Caps Canines Calendar raised $25,000 for Wolf Trap Animal Rescue (WTAR). The calendar featured photos of every Capitals player with either his dog(s) or dogs available for adoption through WTAR.

Caps For a Cause on Cameo: A ‘Caps for a Cause’ on Cameo fundraiser allowed Capitals fans to request personalized video messages from participating Capitals players on fan engagement platform Cameo. $28,575 was donated to several charities of the players’ choice, including MSE Foundation, Lars Eller Foundation, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Dowd’s Crowd, American Special Hockey Association, So Kids Can an the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  
Rink2Reef: Capitals players Lars Eller and Dmitry Orlov met with Rink2Reeef Chesapeake Bay at MedStar Capitals Iceplex and donated sticks to the organization. To combat the environmental strain that results from landfill-bound hockey sticks, Rink2Reef works with D.C. area organizations to collect and repurpose hockey sticks. Players broken sticks are used to create reefs for oyster restoration efforts in order to help create cleaner costal waterways in the Chesapeake Bay.

Random Acts in the W: In conjunction with the Capitals third jersey, the Capitals launched Random Acts in the W in November as a community-focused campaign developed to give back to Caps fans. The Capitals dedicated Random Acts in the W to the family of Frederick County Fire’s Battalion Chief Josh Laird and firefighters from his department, the Shapiro family who named their first daughter after Lars Eller and welcomed their second daughter in 2021 unexpectedly in their home, and the Bray family in honor of father Drew’s cancer journey.

Line Change: The Capitals Team Store at Capital One Arena launched a new women’s apparel collection with Line Change, an apparel brand by Julie Petry and Angela Price. The collection is exclusively available at the Team Store at Capital One Arena. A portion of sales proceeds benefit MSE Foundation.
Black Hockey History Tour: In January the Capitals hosted the National Hockey League’s Black Hockey History Tour, a uniquely curated mobile museum, at Rockville Ice Arena in Rockville, Md., and SkateQuest in Reston, Va. The 525-square foot museum, presented by American Legacy, presents 200 years of black achievement in hockey. Exhibits featured the founders, trail blazers, history makers, and Stanley Cup champions. The mobile museum also looked ahead to the next generation of young stars, NHL Officials, broadcasters, and women in the game. The museum’s visit to the D.C. region featured an interactive team locker room set up featuring the Washington Capitals, an entire wall dedicated to celebrating achievements in black hockey history, and every player in history represented throughout the museum, including via a uniquely designed ‘Wall of Pucks.’

Black Hockey History Display: On Feb. 2 vs. the Edmonton Oilers, the Capitals unveiled a permanent Black Hockey History Display at Capital One Arena devoted to the Capitals Black history and players. The display is located at section 116 on the main concourse and features: 
The Capitals Worked with the Washington D.C. based design firm HKD Sports on the display.

Cannons Practice: The Washington Capitals youth hockey development staff hosted the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club – also known as the Cannons – for a practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex on Feb. 25. Cannons founder Neal Henderson, the first Black individual to be inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019, led the practice along with fellow members of the Cannons coaching staff.
In addition, Capitals alumnus Bill Riley made a special appearance. Riley made his NHL debut with the Capitals in 1974, becoming the first Black Nova Scotian to player in the NHL and the third Black player to play in the league. In 125 games with the Capitals, Riley recorded 28 goals and 28 assists.
Founded in 1978 by Henderson, the Cannons is a developmental program that provides local and inner-city youth in Washington, D.C., the opportunity to participate in an organized ice hockey program. The Cannons are the oldest minority youth hockey program in North America, and the program’s goal is to teach young people discipline, self-esteem and a sense of purpose and to offer an incentive to excel academically.

Fort Dupont Cannons Shop: In January the Capitals and MSE Foundation launched a Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club online merchandise shop, with proceeds benefitting Fort Dupont and the Washington Capitals Capital Impact Fund.
A co-branded Capitals and Fort Cannons T-shirt, hoodie, pom beanie and iron on patch were available to purchase, raising $10,639 for charity.

The Cannons DC Premiere: In April a Washington, D.C., premiere of The Cannons took place at THEARC Theatre in Washington, D.C., with the support of the Capitals. The Cannons is a documentary that follows the experiences of Henderson and two teenage Cannons players and their roles on one of America’s only predominately Black hockey teams.

Capital Impact Fund: The Washington Capitals and MSE Foundation announced the organization’s inaugural Capital Impact Fund beneficiaries in February. The Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Program, Players Against Hate, Positive Coaching Alliance, The Tender Bridge – Baltimore Banners and the Tucker Road Parent Hockey Organization were the five Washington, D.C., area nonprofits that received $10,000 each. The organizations were selected by the Capitals based on their missions and impact toward diversity in hockey, as well as on their plans to use the funding to further advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the sport.  
In 2020 the Capitals organization and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation created the Capital Impact Fund to provide grants to organizations that can assist in eliminating cost barriers faced by individuals of color in the hockey community. The Washington Capitals and MSE Foundation Capital Impact Fund Grant will provide financial support to local nonprofit organizations dedicated to further advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in hockey. The objective of the grant is to provide access to the sport in all forms and should concentrate on, but not be limited to: equipment, ice time, school programs, program fees and access to the game. The fund will help minority youth players reach their greatest potential and will help create more equal playing fields for all.
Hockey Fights Cancer: The Washington Capitals and MSE Foundation Hockey Fights Cancer initiatives in November raised $132,111 for charity. Proceeds benefitted Flashes of Hope, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Mid-Atlantic Region, Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic, and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The Capitals annual Hockey Fights Cancer Game presented by Leidos took place Nov. 14 at Capital One Arena. During warmups, players wore lavender warmup jerseys that were auctioned off along with other items including autographed Hockey Fights Cancer pucks and hats.

During the Capitals Hockey Fights Cancer game, Leidos presented a $40,000 check to Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation in support of the Capitals Hockey Fights Cancer auction beneficiaries.
In addition, T.J. Oshie surprised Capitals fan Chelsea Proctor, who was undergoing treatment for cancer, with a surprise video call.
Tweet from @Capitals: Chelsea Proctor, a young Caps fan and cancer patient, thought she was doing a video interview about medical research. She instead got a surprise visit from @TJOshie77 and it was just as heartwarming as you could imagine. #CapsFightCancer | @LeidosInc pic.twitter.com/1H8WxVsYWp
ALL CAPS ALL HER: In December, the Capitals launched ALL CAPS ALL HER, an initiative that provides access to hockey and elevates the game for women and girls in the Washington D.C., area. ALL CAPS ALL HER recognizes and supports female players, coaches, referees, parents, advocates, students and leaders in the community. Events, programs and content will provide various levels of entry into hockey for women and girls of all ages, offer leadership, business development, and networking opportunities and highlight influential women and families in the community.

Caps Canines Night Pawsented by PEDIGREE Foundation: The Capitals Hosted Caps Canines Night Pawsented by PEDIGREE Foundation on Jan. 24. A pregame moment featured America’s VetDogs puppy raisers, veterans and their dogs. In addition, Capitals players arrived at the arena with adoptable dogs available through Wolf Trap Animal Rescue. The adoptable dogs were part of the game presentation show and intermission, during which fans learned more information on how to give the dogs a forever home.

Hockey Talks Mental Health Awareness Night: On Jan. 26, the Capitals hosted their second Hockey Talks Mental Health Awareness Night in partnership with MedStar Health. The game featured activities related to mental health, including PSAs and an information table on the 100-level concourse. Fans were encouraged to visit the table for resources and for the opportunity to fill out a Hockey Talks sign in support of mental health awareness. In addition, players wore the Hockey Talks decal on their helmets to further raise awareness about mental health.
In addition, two video series surrounding mental wellness debuted on WashCaps.com. ‘Hockey Talks: Mental Wellness During the Pandemic’ featured Capitals senior director of team and organizational development Dr. Aimee Kimball. Kimball addressed mental wellness during the pandemic as it pertained to athletes, parents, and coaches. Kimball, who also served as the Mental Performance Coach for the USA Hockey Women’s National Team for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, also participated in a second video series highlighting mental preparation and Olympic participation. 
Black History Night Presented by Capital One: The Capitals Feb. 28 game vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs marked the organization’s Black History Night presented by Capital One. Capitals players wore special black warmup jerseys featuring the Capitals logo and a Fort Dupont Cannons shoulder patch. The jerseys were signed and auctioned off to raise $52,960 for the Capital Impact Fund. In addition, players also wore a helmet decal featuring Neal Henderson’s likeness during the game.
Black History Night also honored diversity and inclusion with tributes and guests throughout the evening.

Pride Night Fundraiser: Committed to diversity and inclusion, the Capitals hosted Pride Night for the sixth-consecutive year on March 3. The Capitals and MSE Foundation Pride auction featuring autographed player-used sticks wrapped in rainbow-color ‘Pride Tape’ raised $25,760. Proceeds benefitted SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders), with a portion of funds allocated for Team DC.

Military Night Fundraiser: The Capitals and MSE Foundation’s Military Night fundraiser Auction featuring special camouflage warmup jerseys raised $66,575 for the United Heroes League. The jerseys were worn during warmups during Salute to the Military Night on March 15 versus the New York Islanders. More than 1,000 service members were in attendance for the Capitals game on March 15.

Youth Hockey Night: The Capitals celebrated Youth Hockey Night presented by Thundercat Technology on March 20, when the Capitals hosted the Dallas Stars. The first 5,000 youth hockey players to arrive wearing their youth team’s apparel received Capitals-themed stick tape. Select youth hockey players from the region had the opportunity to greet Capitals players during pregame arrivals. In-game and social content highlighted Capitals youth hockey programming throughout the evening. Game presentation activities throughout the evening also featured youth hockey players.

Women in Hockey Night: The Capitals hosted a Women in Hockey Night presented by Fresh Vine Wine on March 28 vs. the Carolina Hurricanes. In-game and social content highlighted women in hockey and showcased the Capitals ALL CAPS ALL HER program. On March 26, as part of the ALL CAPS ALL HER platform, the Capitals hosted a Women in Sports Networking Event for undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing a career in sports. The agenda included a panel featuring women from across the Capitals organization on career paths in hockey and the chance to network with Capitals staff and other attendees.

Capitals PWHPA Showcase: In partnership with the Washington Capitals, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) played four games of the 2021-2022 Secret Dream Gap Tour at MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., from March 4-6 as part of the Capitals PWHPA Showcase presented by Leidos and ThunderCat with Dell Technologies. In addition, the Capitals and PWHPA presented three clinics for local players, featuring instruction by PWHPA athletes and coaches and the Capitals youth hockey development staff, from March 3-5. The event featured Team adidas (Minnesota), Team Bauer (Boston), Team Scotiabank (Calgary) and Team Sonnet (Toronto).

Learn to Play: In partnership with the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Player’s Association, the Capitals continued this season to offer the Future Caps Learn to Play program presented by World Wide Technology. Future Caps offers first-time participants, ages 5-9, free Capitals branded head-to-toe equipment and eight weeks of instruction from certified coaches and Capitals alumni. Since the program launched in 2016, the Capitals have introduced more than 7,300 new participants to the game.

Hockey School: Through the Capitals Hockey School program, elementary and middle schools receive street hockey equipment, a custom written curriculum and staff training. Schools with first- through eighth-grade classrooms can schedule visits from the Capitals Youth Hockey Development staff during their floor hockey units.
Since the 2016-17 season, the Capitals have donated equipment to 1,238 schools and engaged 751,439 students with the game.
ASHA Skate: The Washington Capitals hosted a skate with American Special Hockey Association Players on Dec. 4. Capitals alumni Peter Bondra and Paul Mulvey participated in the skate with more than 20 youth special hockey players in honor of the International Day of People with Disabilities that took place on Dec. 3. The Capitals and ASHA have a longstanding relationship, having partnered on 8 ice and street hockey events since 2014.

Street Hockey Rinks: The Capitals have refurbished or built 14 rinks, with additional rink projects slated. Rinks are located in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. To further encourage the growth of the game, the Capitals Youth Hockey Development staff holds clinics in conjunction with the refurbishment of each rink. List of rinks can be found at washcaps.com/streetrinks.
Try Hockey for Free Program: Presented by Thundercat Technology, the Try Hockey for Free program is geared toward participants ages 4-17. It launched in April to offer street hockey clinics free of charge to local children across the Washington, D.C., area. Each participant learns the basics of hockey, including stickhandling, passing and shooting. Additionally, all participants receive a street hockey stick and ball to take home following the event to encourage continued development. The Capitals Try Hockey for Free program is designed as both an introduction to the game for participants as well as an opportunity to reach families in the Washington community interested in more affordable options to participate in hockey. To learn more about the program visit www.CapsYouthHockey.com/TryHockeyForFree.
Learn to Play Street Hockey Program: Learn to Play Street Hockey is a first of its kind initiative that provides families the opportunity to join the hockey community through an accessible and affordable program. Participants develop fundamental skills that will help them succeed in hockey and beyond. The Learn to Play Street Hockey program is designed for first-time players between the ages of 5-9 and 10-14. For a small fee, participants will receive free equipment and six weeks of age-appropriate introductory instruction on the fundamental skills of hockey from certified coaches. To learn more about the program, visit www.CapsYouthHockey.com/LearnToPlayStreetHockey.

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