ARLINGTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals have named former Olympian and Rockville, Md., native Haley Skarupa as the team's Hockey Ambassador. Skarupa will assist with the team's efforts to develop and engage with the youth hockey community across Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
"We are excited to welcome Haley as our new Hockey Ambassador to our organization," said Monumental Sports & Entertainment Founder, Chairman, Principal Partner and CEO, Ted Leonsis. "Her talent on the ice and her dedication to engaging participants in the sport make her a terrific role model for aspiring athletes. Over the past several years, we have seen a tremendous increase in youth hockey participation across the area and we believe her addition will continue to spur growth among young participants."
"I'm extremely excited to join the Capitals organization," said Skarupa. "I grew up playing hockey in the area, so this opportunity to come back and develop the game around the region is incredibly special. The Capitals have done such an amazing job growing this sport for boys and girls and I'm excited to use my experience and background to continue making a difference in the community and beyond."
As hockey ambassador, Skarupa will work with the team's youth hockey department to drive growth across the sport. Skarupa will establish additional female programming that encompasses both street hockey and on-ice sessions. In addition, she will work to enhance the Capitals' existing initiatives across youth and high school hockey, as well as serve as the team's core liaison with USA hockey.
Skarupa helped lead the United States to a gold medal in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. She also played in three International Hockey Federation Women's World Championships, helping the United States to three world championships (2015, 2016, 2017). Skarupa competed in three Four Nations Cups (1st-2016; 2nd-2014, 2010), and has represented the United States in several other international events.
Skarupa was drafted by the National Women's Hockey League's New York Riveters with the ninth pick overall in the 2015 NWHL Draft and has played three seasons in the league.
Most recently, Skarupa served as director of Boston Junior Whalers Hockey, coaching youth hockey players in various premiere and select tournaments in Massachusetts. She also served as a skills development coach for Eagles Elite Sports, coaching youth hockey players in clinics, camps and private skills sessions throughout the New England region.
Skarupa received a degree in psychology from Boston College, where she played four seasons on the women's division 1 team.
According to USA Hockey, overall there's been significant growth in youth participation in the D.C. area. Participation in the region has increased over the past five seasons to 22,144 players, coaches and officials. Since Alex Ovechkin was drafted, participation by youth players has increased by 221%. There are approximately 40 ice facilities in the area, with a total of 53 sheets of ice.
The Capitals will celebrate the IIHF World Girls' Hockey Weekend on Saturday, Oct. 5, with two free Washington Capitals Girls Hockey Clinics hosted by Skarupa. The clinics will take place at MedStar Capitals Iceplex and are open to female hockey players ages 8-18. For more information and to register,click here.