ARLINGTON, Va. –Washington Capitals fans raised more than $33,700 for the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) by participating in the team’s Beard-A-Thon® initiative during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A playoff beard is the superstitious practice of a hockey player not shaving his beard during the playoffs. The player stops shaving when his team enters the playoffs and does not shave until his team is either eliminated or wins the Stanley Cup®. Through Beard-A-Thon® fans elected to grow a beard themselves or made a financial donation in support of a Capitals player or a fan who chose to grow a playoff beard.
Created in 2000 for players with developmental disabilities, ASHA gives people of all ages and abilities a chance to learn and grow playing hockey. There are currently 50 ASHA programs in more than 30 cities throughout the United States.
ASHA will use the funds to launch new programs, as well as for ASHA regional summer camps, tournaments, festivals and the ASHA Experience program, which helps new players get involved with the organization.
“We are very pleased that the Washington Capitals selected the American Special Hockey Association as the beneficiary of funds raised through Beard-A-Thon®,” said Mike Hickey, ASHA president. “The amazing support of the Capitals organization and its fans for growing a beard or donating to the cause makes the organization among the best in the National Hockey League.”
Capitals beard-growers included Karl Alzner, Nicklas Backstrom, Troy Brouwer, Curtis Glencross, Mike Green, Braden Holtby, Michael Latta, Brooks Orpik, Alex Ovechkin, Justin Peters and Joel Ward.
The top Caps fan beard-grower was Arlington, Va., native Justin Taft, who raised nearly $10,500. Taft has participated in Beard-A-Thon® the last three times the Capitals made the playoffs.
“Growing a beard and raising money for a local charity where everyone can see the actual results have an impact is a great motivation,” said Taft. “I have very generous friends and family, and this year was a fun year because the parent of one of the children who benefits from the charity encouraged me to win it for his daughter. His daughter, Ann Schaab, and Alex Ovechkin have a unique friendship through the charity, and I didn't want to disappoint Ann or Alex, let alone her father."
Fans can continue to donate to Beard-A-Thon® through the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals by visiting the Capitals’ Beard-A-Thon® page at www.beardathon.com/teams/washington-capitals.
Since 2009 Beard-a-thon® has raised more than $3 million for NHL team charities, and each year, some 7,000 fans, players and alumni sign up to grow in support of those worthy causes in their area.