Washington Capitals alternate captain Brooks Laich and right wing Joel Ward attended the Caps fourth-annual service project at Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena on Saturday, April 20. Funded by Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, the project featured 100 Capitals fans working alongside Caps’ Better Halves Mandy Alzner, Rachel Fehr, Claire Monahan (Aaron Volpatti), Courtney Parrie (Mike Green) and Mackenzie Schultz; team mascot Slapshot; and the Red Rockers, who were all sprucing up Fort Dupont.
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As volunteers checked in, they were greeted by the Caps’ Better Halves as they signed up for various projects and received Capitals T-shirts courtesy of MSE Foundation. The event kicked off with welcoming remarks from Elizabeth Wodatch, executive director of MSE Foundation, and Ty Newberry, general manager of Fort Dupont Ice Arena. The Caps’ Better Halves, Slapshot, the Red Rockers and the volunteers then went to work on indoor projects that included waxing the boards; cleaning the glass; painting the lobby, locker rooms, party room and hallway behind the bleachers; cleaning hockey equipment; washing speed mats and putting together goals. Some volunteers also worked on outdoor projects that included washing windows, weeding and mulching tree boxes and flower beds, raking leaves and picking up trash. Music was played to keep all of the volunteers motivated and ensure they were having fun as they worked hard on their tasks.
After the projects were finished and supplies were cleaned up, the volunteers were treated to a pizza lunch. Laich and Ward arrived during lunch and mingled with the volunteers, answering questions, signing autographs and taking pictures with the Caps fans and community neighbors who had come to help out.
The Washington Capitals and Fort Dupont have a long-standing partnership. In February Ward skated with members of the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club and Kids on Ice program. In June 2012 the Caps donated $50,000 to help fund Fort Dupont’s newly formed Kids On Ice P.L.U.S. program, which combines classroom education with advanced skating classes, including hockey, speed skating and synchronized skating. Fort Dupont is also one of the Capitals’ seven platinum-level rink partners.
Fort Dupont is the only public indoor ice arena located in Washington, D.C., and the only skating facility in the area that provides free or subsidized skating programs to children. Its Kids On Ice program provides free figure skating, hockey and speed skating lessons to economically disadvantaged children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn these sports. Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena partners with public and private schools, summer camps, churches and local community organizations to promote and deliver its programs to more than 7,000 children per year.