On Feb. 19 the Washington Capitals and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation teamed up with Dreams for Kids DC (DFKDC) to welcome nearly 100 children with physical and developmental disabilities to Kettler Capitals Iceplex for an ice hockey clinic.
Dreams for Kids DC is a children's charity that organizes life-changing activities with a goal of empowering children with disabilities and helping them to reach their full potential. The event marked the sixth-consecutive year that the Washington Capitals and MSE Foundation have partnered with Dreams for Kids DC.
Prior to the start of the skate, participants were invited to enjoy lunch donated by Subway and socialize with their volunteers and other participants. These children, along with their family members and volunteers, then had the opportunity to skate alongside Capitals defenseman Taylor Chorney and forward Tom Wilson. Chorney and Wilson spent time taking pictures with, talking to and skating with the Dreams For Kids participants and volunteers.
"I think it's wonderful for them to see their local sports heroes inspiring them on the ice, really pushing them to go and try new things," said Glenda Fu, DFKDC executive director. "A lot of these kids, it's their first time on the ice, and they're very shy or nervous about it, so to see the Caps players encouraging them and rooting them on - I think it's really impactful."
For Chorney, seeing the happiness that events like these bring to the children participating was the highlight of the day.
"You can't overstate how important it is to give back," said Chorney. "This event was definitely special. When you get the chance to work with kids, I think that probably makes it even more special just to see how much enjoyment it brings them."
In addition to the skate, Leveling the Playing Field (LPF), a Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation partner whose mission is to give underserved children the opportunity to be involved in athletics, donated hockey equipment to Dreams for Kids DC. The equipment, which includes helmets, knee pads and gloves, was collected at a number of Capitals partner ice rinks over the course of the season.
For Fu, seeing volunteers and partners devote their time to bringing happiness to the children participating is the most rewarding part of the event.
"It's just great to see all of these people in the community getting together to give back."
For more information on Dreams for Kids DC, visit their website here.
View a photo gallery on MonumentalFoundation.org.
The event was held in conjunction with the Capitals celebration of Hockey is for Everyone Month, a league-wide initiative that encourages children of all backgrounds and ability levels to try hockey.
For a complete list of Hockey is For Everyone events that the Capitals participated in, click here.