Community highlights of the 2017-18 season include:
Pediatric Health and Fitness
Hockey Fights Cancer: The Washington Capitals and MSE Foundation teamed up with FORTUNE 500® science and technology company Leidos throughout November to educate the hockey community about cancer through Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Month.
Video: #CapsFightCancer: Oshie and Addy
The campaign raised $130,242 for five cancer-related charities. The funds were split between Flashes of Hope, Hope for Henry, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
Video: 2017 Hockey Fights Cancer Beneficiaries Skate
MSE Foundation hosted an auction featuring several Hockey Fights Cancer items, including signed lavender jerseys worn during warmups on Nov 2. All proceeds from the Capitals mobile seat upgrades as well as the sale of Capitals #CapsFightCancer lavender T-shirts also benefited the Hockey Fights Cancer campaign. Hockey Fights Cancer pins also were available for purchase at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex Team Store and online through the auction. Proceeds from MSE Foundation's Nov. 2 50/50 raffle and cash donations also rounded out the total.
Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic: During the 2017-18 season, the Capitals granted three wishes in conjunction with Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic. The team granted the wish of 11-year-old Bethesda, Md., native Dariush Namin in November, 14-year-old William Cody in January, and six-year-old Arvada, Colo., native Owen Meyer in February.
Video: Making Dariush's Wish Come True
Video: Make-a-Wish | Will Cody
Video: Making Owen's Wish Come True
In addition to their Hockey Fights Cancer campaign, Capitals players and their significant others hosted "Wish Upon A Par" in February. The Top Golf event raised nearly $35,000 for Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic.
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital: In November the Washington Capitals visited patients at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital as a team. Players divided into groups and visited patients who were hospitalized or receiving out-patient treatment for serious illnesses including cancer. The Caps also distributed blankets to children through the NHL's The Biggest Assist Happens Off the Ice™ social responsibility program, passed out Capitals Kids Club kits that were provided by Capitals fans through the team's Kids Club kit donation program and handed out hats collected as part of the Capitals hat drive with Ellie's Hats.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Alex Ovechkin also participated in a Flashes of Hope photo shoot with cancer patients and their families.
Video: Caps Visit Medstar Georgetown University Hospital
Stick With Fitness: During the 2017-18 season the Capitals continued their Stick With Fitness programming, a physical education challenge that encourages children to be more physically active. Nearly 35 classrooms across 30 schools registered, with more than 4,500 students participating. The free program consists of five parts and is designed for first through sixth-grade students. Physical education teachers are encouraged to sign up online.
Military and Veteran's Affairs
Courage Caps: Courage Caps, a MSE Foundation initiative presented by Telos, raised more than $100,000 for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). The Capitals sold team-issued Courage-branded hats and T-shirts to benefit TAPS for the seventh-consecutive season. Since the program launched during the 2007-08 season, the Courage campaign has raised more than $1 million for charity through the sale of 28,431 Courage hats in 10 years and 15,330 Courage T-shirts in eight years. TAPS is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America's fallen military heroes.
Video: 2018 Courage Caps Skate
Military Night Auction: A Salute to the Military Night auction presented by MSE Foundation in February raised nearly $40,000 for the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program and United Heroes League. The auction featured autographed camouflage jerseys worn during warmups as well as player-used sticks wrapped in camouflage tape and pucks with camouflage Caps logos.
D.C. Public Schools: MSE Foundation and its teams collaborated to "adopt" a local school through the D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) Adopt-a-School Program, which the Capitals became involved with in 2009. For the 2017-18 school year, MSE Foundation adopted Hendley Elementary School, a Title I D.C. Public School located in Ward 8 that serves nearly 500 children in PK3 through fifth grade.
Everybody Wins! DC: MSE staff members participate in the Everybody Wins! DC Power Lunch program, a literacy and mentoring program based in select elementary schools in the Washington metropolitan area. The goal of Power Lunch is to encourage children's interest in reading, expand their opportunities for success and facilitate meaningful volunteer contributions.
Through the Power Lunch program, MSE staff members, including employees from the Capitals, Mystics, Wizards and Capital One Arena, are paired with students at Garrison Elementary School in Washington, D.C., and Key Elementary School in Arlington, Va. Each week during the school year, MSE staff members take time out of their day to visit with their mentees, spending time reading and sharing conversation during the lunch hour.
Playworks Washington, D.C.: MSE Foundation granted $25,000 to Playworks Washington, D.C., a national nonprofit organization that transforms schools by providing play and physical activity at recess and throughout the school day. Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. Playworks currently partners with 13 public and public charter schools in Washington, D.C.
Reading Program: The Caps continued their Reading Program, part of Caps in School presented by PwC offerings. This free, five-month program provided students in grades K- through six with bookmarks to track their minutes read. Students received incentives and rewards for their participation. At the conclusion of each month, the top three classes with the most minutes read received additional rewards. Upon the completion of the program, the class with the most minutes read overall throughout the entire program was treated to donuts, T-shirts and posters delivered by Slapshot. Nearly 2,500 students across 35 schools read more than 1.7 million minutes during the 2017-18 season.
Hunger and Homelessness
Family-to-Family: The Washington Capitals, Mystics, Valor and Wizards collaborated on the 2017 Family-to-Family program, which the Wizards created more than 20 years ago. The program allows the MSE teams to "adopt" families in need who are nominated by local schools and nonprofit organizations. During the 2017 holiday season 21 families were adopted by MSE Foundation and an additional eight families were adopted by individual MSE players, coaches and staff members.
Video: 2017 Family-to-Family Walmart Shopping
The Family-to-Family program kicked off in November when Capitals and Wizards better halves, Mystics players Natasha Cloud and Tayler Hill and Valor player Tracy Belton partnered on a holiday shopping spree at Walmart to benefit more than 100 adults and children involved in this year's program.
Video: 2017 Family to Family Holiday Party
MSE Foundation and the Capitals hosted a holiday party for all adopted families at MedStar Capital Iceplex. Families played street hockey with Capitals players and interacted with Santa, Capitals mascot Slapshot and Red Rockers. A DJ, face painter, caricature artist and balloon artist also provided entertainment for the children. At the end of the party, families were able to take their gifts home to unwrap on Christmas.
Food Drives: The Capitals, Mystics and Wizards partnered with NBC 4 to host the Food 4 Families food drive at Capital One Arena. In addition the Capitals hosted a canned food drive supported by Giant Food to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Fans donated 1,448 pounds of food, which equaled a total of 1,206 total meals for families during the holiday season.
The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command: The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command served as the beneficiary of the Capitals toy drive presented by GEICO. The event resulted in 650 toys being donated to The Salvation Army. The Capitals also hosted bell ringers at Capital One Arena, raising more than $450 as part of The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign.
Learn to Play: In conjunction with the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Player's Association, the Washington Capitals hosted the second season of Learn to Play programming at several area rinks. Each participating rink provided affordable Learn to Play programming with the goal of increasing participation in ice hockey. Open to first-time participants, the Learn to Play initiative provided free head-to-toe equipment to children ages five to nine in an effort to reduce cost barriers associated with an introductory program.
Hockey School: The Capitals hosted 30 Hockey Schools throughout the region during the 2017-18 season. The Hockey School program introduces second- through sixth-grade students to the sport of street hockey and is a free program designed to be instructional, interactive and fun. The Capitals have hosted more than 230 clinics and reached more than 35,000 students in the Washington, D.C., area through the team's Hockey School program since its inception in 2007.
Video: 2018 NHL All-Star Mini One-On-One Weekend
Youth Hockey Shootout: Throughout the summer of 2017, more than 500 youth hockey participants of all ages competed in the Caps Youth Hockey Shootout competition, driven by AAA, at six partner rinks. Finalists from Maryland and Virginia were invited to compete in the finals during intermission of a Caps game. Winners of the Squirt (10U) division were sent to a league-wide competition that took place at the NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa Bay. The other age divisions participated in a local VIP experience that included a post-game meet-and-greet with Capitals players as well as a chance to learn shootout tips from forward T.J. Oshie and goaltender Braden Holtby.
Video: 2017-18 High School Shootout Challenge
Mite Jamboree: All Chesapeake Bay Hockey League Mite (8U) teams were invited to play in a preseason Mite Jamboree, driven by AAA, held at the Prince William Ice Center in September. Teams played three games and received an event T-shirt from the Capitals. Forty-two teams and more than 400 kids participated.
College Combine and Fair: More than 140 local high school players participated in the Caps College Combine, driven by AAA, to showcase their talents for college coaches and scouts, with a select roster chosen to participate in a showcase scrimmage. The Caps College Hockey Fair, an educational event, followed to highlight the different levels of collegiate hockey and provide an opportunity for attendees to meet coaches and learn about collegiate hockey options.
Video: Alumni Scholarship Check Presentation
Washington Capitals Alumni Association Scholarship: In 2018, the Washington Capitals Alumni Association (WCAA), in coordination with MSE Foundation and the Potomac Valley Amateur Hockey Association (PVAHA), awarded five scholarships totaling $25,000 to high school student athletes within the region. Each receipt, one from each of the five high school hockey leagues, received a $5,000 scholarship to be put towards their college expenses. The scholarship is open to high school hockey student-athletes and awarded based on academic and hockey achievements, as well as character.
Video: 2018 High School Hockey Captain's Brunch
Captain's Brunch: The Washington Capitals hosted the second-annual Captain's Brunch, driven by AAA, a recognition event at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, to honor the captain's "C" of all the local high school teams. The students enjoyed brunch while watching Caps practice. All of the captains met Capitals alumnus Alan May, received a commemorative coin and attended a leadership discussion. More than 50 captains were in attendance.
High School Hockey Championships: In February the Capitals sponsored the Capitals Cup High School Championships. The Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League, Maryland Student Hockey League, Mid-Atlantic Girls Hockey League, Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League, and the Capital Scholastic Hockey League conducted their respective playoff tournaments, with the winners receiving the designation as "Capitals Cup" winners. The Washington Capitals and MSE Foundation provided championship hats and medals to the winning teams as well as honored them for the year at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex on the High School Wall of Fame.
JWHL Challenge Cup: The Capitals and Washington Pride hosted the annual Junior Women's Hockey League (JWHL) Challenge Cup at MedStar Capitals Iceplex in February. A free clinic was offered to local special hockey players as part of the JWHL Challenge Cup and their partnership with the Capitals youth hockey department.
Leveling the Playing Field: MSE Foundation granted $20,000 to Leveling the Playing Field (LPF) during the 2017-18 NHL season to help expand its equipment collections and donations.
LPF was founded to give underprivileged children the opportunity to enjoy athletic involvement. By collecting and distributing donated equipment, LPF allows youth sports organizations to redirect funds they had allocated for the purchase of gear for other purposes.
During the NHL's Green Month, and in celebration of the Stadium Series, the NHL, Washington Capitals and MSE Foundation partnered with LPF to place seven NHL Green - Recycle the Game donation nets in community rinks across the Washington, D.C., region.
MSE Foundation and LPF collected gear and donated it to United Heroes League (UHL), an organization dedicated to empowering military families and helping children stay active through sports. UHL also received a $25,000 donation from MSE Foundation and the League to provide programming that fits within the NHL's Declaration of Principles for D.C.-area military families.
Fort Dupont: In February Capitals players Madison Bowey, Brooks Orpik and Devante Smith-Pelly hosted the Fort Dupont Cannons at MedStar Capitals Iceplex for an Official Rink Partner visit driven by AAA. The group presented the Cannons with a $22,000 check on behalf of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, made possible by a grant from the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation.
Video: Fort Dupont's AAA Youth Hockey Rink Visit
Fort Dupont Ice Arena is the only full-size indoor ice arena in Washington, D.C., and is home to the Cannons, the oldest minority youth hockey program in North America. The program's goal is to teach young people discipline, self-esteem and a sense of purpose and to offer an incentive to excel academically. The Foundation also hosts an annual service project at Fort Dupont Ice Arena.
Video: Ovechkin Hosts Surprise Street Hockey Game with ASHA
Special Hockey: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin surprised more than 50 American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) program participants at Capital One Arena with a street hockey game. Ovechkin played in two games, signed autographs and posed for pictures with ASHA players.
The Capitals also teamed up with children's charity Dreams for Kids for the ninth consecutive year in February, hosting an Extreme Recess Hockey Clinic at MedStar Capitals Iceplex for children with physical and developmental disabilities.
Video: Capitals Players Team Up with Dreams for Kids DC
UP2US: MSE Foundation funds hockey coaches at Fort Dupont through the Coach Across America program at UP2US, an organization dedicated to transforming the lives of vulnerable youth by hiring and training coaches who can inspire their success both inside and outside of sports.
PVAHA Grant: For the ninth year in a row, the Washington Capitals partnered with the Potomac Valley Amateur Hockey Association (PVAHA), with MSE Foundation providing a $25,000 grant. This money helps fund the John Crerar Hockey Development and Chris Dernetz Disabled Hockey grant programs.
Canine Calendar: The Washington Capitals and MSE Foundation raised more than $69,000 for Homeward Trails Animal Rescue through the 2018 Capitals Canine Calendar. The calendar featured photos of Capitals players with their dogs as well as dogs available for adoption through Homeward Trails. The funds will allow Homeward Trails to provide medical and behavioral care, as well as permanent homes for rescued animals. Since 2014 MSE Foundation has donated more than $250,000 to Homeward Trails through calendar sales.
Video: #CapsCanineCalendar Photo Shoot | October 23
Go Green Auction: In March, MSE Foundation raised nearly $31,345 through a Go Green Auction. The auction featured autographed limited edition green jerseys worn during the pregame warmups prior to the Capitals game versus the New York Islanders as well as autographed sticks wrapped with green tape and autographed green pucks. All proceeds benefitted the Anacostia Watershed Society and the Anacostia Waterfront Trust.
Casino Night: Hundreds of Capitals fans helped MSE Foundation and the Washington Capitals raise more than $300,000 for charity at the seventh Capitals Casino Night presented by Leonsis Foundation on Jan. 4 at MGM National Harbor in Oxen Hill, Md. Casino Night featured the entire team along with coaches and alumni participating in casino games with fans. There also was a raffle and silent auction featuring game-used equipment and autographed memorabilia as well as a live auction featuring interactive experiences with Capitals players and coaches.
Video: 2018 Caps Casino Night
Hockey is for Everyone: In conjunction with the National Hockey League's Hockey is for Everyone Month, MSE Foundation hosted an auction featuring autographed player-used sticks wrapped in rainbow-color 'Pride Tape.' The auction raised $11,610 for the You Can Play Project, an organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, coaches and fans, without regard to sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
MSE Foundation continues to raise money for the You Can Play Project through the sale of Capitals Pride T-shirts. A Monumental Sports & Entertainment contingency also participated in the Capital Pride Alliance's 2018 Capital Pride Parade in Washington, D.C., in June.
MSE Foundation Grants and Auctions: In 2017-18, MSE Foundation granted additional organizations funding, including DC Central Kitchen, the Hockey Hall of Fame, KaBOOM!, Positive Coaching Alliance and USA Hockey.
MSE Foundation also hosted additional auctions throughout the season, including a Stadium Series auction that raised $25,887. A Caps' Better Halves Gift Basket Auction raised $47,900.
So Kids Can: Nicklas Backstrom, Braden Holtby and Tom Wilson, along with Elliot Segal of the Elliot in the Morning Show helped raise more than $40,500 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC (RMHCDC) through So Kids Can.
In January, the players and Segal participated in a RMHCDC family nutrition and fitness program at Barnard Elementary School in Washington, D.C.
MSE Foundation also hosted a So Kids Can auction during the 2018 Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, featuring autographed items from the So Kids Can participants and two suite tickets to Game 2.
So Kids Can was created in 2008 by former Capitals defenseman Mike Green and Elliot Segal to benefit youth-focused, nonprofit organizations. Backstrom and former Caps forward Brooks Laich joined the cause in 2011, former Caps defenseman Karl Alzner and Holtby joined in 2015 and Wilson joined in 2017. Each player and Segal donated $50 per Capitals win during the regular season and $100 per Capitals win during the playoffs.
For more information on the Capitals' community initiatives, visit WashCaps.com and MonumentalFoundation.org.