As a child in Alberta, Canada, opportunities for Washington Capitals alumnus Alan May to play hockey depended on one stipulation: good grades.
“School was really important to be able to play hockey because if I didn’t bring home good grades, my parents wouldn’t let me play,” May recently told a group of 215 Manassas Park Elementary School students. “In order for me to get out of the house for my parents to let me play hockey I had to have really good grades in school. It’s pretty important, especially for kids who want to go to college.”
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May, who played with the Capitals from 1989-94 as a left wing, was at the Manassas Park, Va., school for a Washington Capitals Hockey School.
Hockey School is a free instructional and interactive program that aims to expose students to floor hockey while teaching proper technique.
During the program May introduced students to hockey by sharing anecdotes about his experience playing hockey, including memories from the first time he played hockey as a three-year-old to highlights of his first professional hockey game.
Following a question and answer session, May demonstrated skills and offered one-on-one instruction to students on stickhandling, passing and shooting.
Students then played in a scrimmage with May and Capitals mascot Slapshot as their teammates.
“It was a very good group of kids – enthusiastic as always,” said May, who currently serves as Comcast SportsNet’s Capitals Analyst. “They had a lot of fun and seemed like they really love the game of hockey.”
At the conclusion of the visit, which was the team’s fourteenth assembly of the academic year, the Capitals donated a set of street hockey equipment to the school.
“It was awesome to have the Capitals come into the school,” said Manassas Park physical education teacher Ryan Bogner. “Now that we’ve received all this equipment from the Capitals – we’ve got goals, we’ve got goalie equipment, we’ve got sticks, pucks – we’re definitely going to be able to incorporate hockey more into our education curriculum.”