Community highlights of the 2016-17 season include:
Health and Physical Fitness
Hockey Fights Cancer: The Washington Capitals hosted a Hockey Fights Cancer skate with Flashes of Hope, Hope for Henry, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in November where families affiliated with these organizations were able to watch the team practice.
Video: #CapsFightCancer Skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex
As part of the team's Hockey Fights Cancer campaign, each Capitals player, head coach Barry Trotz and owner Ted Leonsis was paired with a Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic wish kid who was battling cancer or was in remission. After practice players met their Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic partners in the Caps locker room prior to the skating session. In addition, several players participated with attendees in a Flashes of Hope photo shoot.
During warmups of the game the next night, each player wore a lavender Capitals jerseys with the nameplate of his Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic wish kid. These jerseys were auctioned off with MSE Foundation raising $63,955 for Flashes of Hope, Hope for Henry, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Leidos donated an additional $40,000 - $10,000 to each organization. Combined with proceeds from the evening's 50/50 raffle, warm-up puck sales, Ellie's Hats donations and the sale of Hockey Fights Cancer pins, nearly $140,000 was raised for the charities.
Video: Highlights from #CapsFightCancer night
Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic: 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 more than $20,000 for Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic.
In 2016 Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin partnered with Papa John's on Ovechkin's Wish Special, a special pizza offer to raise money for Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic. By the end of the year, the program had already raised $36,000 and a check was presented to Make-A-Wish during a Caps game in December.
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital: In December the Washington Capitals visited patients at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital as a team. Players divided into groups and spread holiday wishes to children 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.
Video: Caps visit MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
During the visit, Capitals players and patients painted canvas paintings that were autographed and auctioned by MSE Foundation, raising more than $6,000 to benefit art-therapy organization Tracy's Kids. Tracy's Kids helps young cancer patients and their families cope with the emotional stress and trauma of cancer and its treatment.
Stick With Fitness: During the 2016-17 season the Capitals launched Stick With Fitness, a physical education challenge that encourages children to be more physically active. Nearly 40 classrooms across 36 schools registered, with more than 4,800 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 $148,000 for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). The Capitals sold 3,262 team-issued Courage-branded hats and 2,434 T-shirts to benefit TAPS for the sixth-consecutive season. Since the program launched during the 2007-08 season, the Courage campaign has raised nearly $925,000 for charity through the sale of 25,759 Courage hats in ten years and 13,683 Courage T-shirts in eight years. TAPS is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America's fallen military heroes.
Video: Caps players skate with TAPS to kick off Courage Caps
Military Night Auction: A Salute to the Military Night auction presented by MSE Foundation in March raised more than $56,000 for Our Military Kids and United Heroes League. The auction featured autographed camouflage jerseys worn during warmups as well as autographed pucks with camouflage Caps logos and camouflage hats. Our Military Kids, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supports children in grades five through 12 of deployed National Guard and Reserve service members and children of wounded warriors from all service branches. United Heroes League actively works to ensure that children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in sports.
Video: Capt. Groberg drops the puck at #CapsMilitaryNight
United Hero's League: Select Capitals players including Karl Alzner, Philipp Grubauer, T.J. Oshie, Brooks Orpik and Nate Schmidt participated in a combined 12 post-game meet and greets with United Heroes League families.
DC 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 2016-17 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.
To kick off the partnership MSE Foundation hosted a book drive where fans could donate books to be used in classroom libraries. Hendley ES students, teachers and administrators received complimentary game tickets to World Cup of Hockey, Capitals and Wizards preseason games. In October, MSE Foundation helped fund transportation for an Early Childhood field trip to align with their curricular unit. During the holiday season, the school nominated families who were adopted through the Foundation's Family-to-Family program, and MSE Foundation hosted a party at the school for families to receive their gifts. MSE staff volunteered each month at the Martha's Table Joyful Food Market. In addition, MSE Foundation supplied hundreds of items for the school's Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) cart for student incentives and for teacher rewards.
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 Verizon Center, 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.
MSE Foundation hosted the Everybody Wins! DC Power Lunch Celebration for nearly 200 students and mentors at Verizon Center June 1. MSE also hosted an employee book drive during the holidays, collecting more than 100 books for Garrison and Key Elementary Schools.
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 18 public and public charter schools in Washington, D.C., serving 7,100 students each day.
Video: MSE Foundation brings students a day of street hockey
Reading Program: This season the Caps added a Reading Program to their 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 3,000 students across 47 schools read more than 1.8 million minutes during the 2016-17 season.
Hunger and Homelessness
Family-to-Family: For the sixth-straight year all three MSE sports teams collaborated on the Family-to-Family program, which the Wizards created 20 years ago. The program allows the Capitals, Mystics and Wizards to "adopt" families in need who are nominated by local schools and nonprofit organizations. During the 2016 holiday season 20 families were adopted by MSE Foundation and an additional 14 families were adopted by individual players, coaches and staff members.
Video: MSE Foundation adopted 20 families for the holidays
The Family-to-Family program kicked off when Capitals better halves Mandy Alzner, Julie Eller, Amelia Falk (Marcus Johansson), Brandi Holtby, Katrina Kim (Brett Connolly), Erin Orpik, Lauren Oshie and Kim Trotz; Red Rockers; and mascot Slapshot; along with Wizards better half Alexis Mahinmi and mascot G-Wiz; and MSE staff shopped for nearly 100 adults and children adopted through the initiative. Clothing, educational items and toys were purchased for the children, while clothing and household items, along with gift cards, were purchased for the parents and guardians.
Video: 2016 Family to Family Party
MSE Foundation and the Capitals hosted a holiday party for all adopted families at Kettler Capital Iceplex. Capitals head coach Barry Trotz and his wife Kim attended the event along with Karl Alzner, Justin and Kelly Williams and Daniel and Taylor Winnik. Families met Santa and enjoyed a DJ, cookies and hot chocolate, face painting, a caricaturist, a balloon artist and playing street hockey. Slapshot and Red Rockers took photos with children and served as Santa's helpers. 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 NBC4 to host the Food 4 Families food drive at Verizon Center. In addition the Capitals hosted a canned food drive supported by Giant Food to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Fans donated non-perishable food items and individuals who donated two or more items received a poster of Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom. Fans donated 1,476 pounds of food and $767 in cash for the Capital Area Food Bank, which equaled a total of 3,117 total meals for families this holiday season.
Video: Caps, Giant team up with Capital Area Food Bank
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 and the Wizards CeleOubre-ation toy drive. These two events resulted in 2,285 toys being donated to The Salvation Army. The Capitals and Wizards also hosted bell ringers at Verizon Center during games in December that helped raise more than $1,790 as part of The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign.
D.C. Central Kitchen: For the fifth year-in-a-row, MSE Foundation hosted a service project at D.C. Central Kitchen for MSE staff members. This project allowed more than 30 staffers to work alongside DCCK culinary job training graduates in the organization's Meal Prep program. The Meal Prep program utilizes volunteers to make 5,000 daily meals that are delivered to 100 nearby homeless shelters, transitional homes and nonprofit organizations.
DCCK also hosted Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner and Chef Robert Wood, partner and executive chef at SuperFd Catering, for a cooking demonstration with students from DCCK's culinary job training program. MSE Foundation and SuperFd have partnered for Cooking With the Caps, a cookbook featuring favorite recipes from Capitals players, coaches and personnel. Proceeds will benefit DCCK.
Video: SuperFd chef cooks with Alzner at DC Central Kitchen
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty: MSE Foundation donated $15,000 to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, helping assist their mission of ending and preventing homelessness. The Law Center works to expand access to affordable housing, meet the immediate and long-term needs of those who are homeless or at risk, and strengthen the social safety-net through policy advocacy, public education, impact litigation and advocacy training and support. They believe all human beings have the right to a basic standard of living that includes safe, affordable housing, healthcare and freedom from discrimination and cruelty.
Learn to Play: In conjunction with the National Hockey League, the Washington Capitals launched Learn to Play programming in September at 25 area rinks, amongst the highest number of participating program rinks in the NHL. Each participating rink provided affordable LTP programming with the goal of increasing participation in ice hockey. Open to first-time participants, the LTP initiative also provided free head-to-toe equipment to children ages four to eight in an effort to reduce cost barriers associated with an introductory program.
Video: Learn more about the Capitals Hockey School Program
Hockey School: The Capitals hosted 30 Hockey Schools throughout the region during the 2016-17 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 200 clinics and reached more than 30,000 students in the Washington, D.C., area through the team's Hockey School program since its inception in 2007.
Street Hockey Programming: The Capitals continued a partnership with DC Public Schools that launched in February 2016, introducing more than 48,000 students across 111 schools to hockey through a multi-week street-hockey curriculum. The Capitals also refurbished three outdoor street hockey rinks in Maryland and Virginia.
Youth Hockey Shootout: Throughout the summer of 2016, more than 750 youth hockey participants of all ages competed in a shootout competition 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 LA. The other age groups participated in a local VIP experience that included a behind the scenes look at the arena as well as a chance to learn shootout tips from forward T.J. Oshie and goaltender Philipp Grubauer.
Video: Squirt Shootout Final sends two to the All-Star Game
Mite Jamboree: All Chesapeake Bay Hockey League Mite (8U) teams were invited to play in a preseason jamboree, held at the Prince William Ice Center, in October. Teams played three games and received an event T-shirt from the Capitals. 33 teams and more than 300 kids participated.
Video: 2016 Mite Jamboree
College Combine and Fair: More than 125 local high school players participated in a combine to showcase their talents for college coaches and scouts, with some chosen to participate in a showcase scrimmage. An educational event followed to highlight the different levels of collegiate hockey and provide an opportunity for attendees to meet coaches and learn about the schools. More than 20 schools were in attendance.
Video: Caps Youth Hockey College Hockey Combine and Fair
Captain's Brunch: The Washington Capitals hosted the Captain's Brunch, an inaugural recognition event at Kettler 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 by Capitals coach Barry Trotz. 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 Kettler 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 Kettler 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.
Video: JWHL All-Stars host clinic for special needs team
Leveling The Playing Field: MSE Foundation granted $15,000 to Leveling the Playing Field (LPF) before the start of the 2016-17 NHL and NBA seasons to help expand its hockey and basketball equipment collections and donations. Collection bins were placed at Washington Capitals rink partners Ashburn Ice House, Kettler Capitals Iceplex and SkateQuest Reston in Virginia and The Gardens Ice House, Skate Frederick, Cabin John Ice Rink, Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex and Wheaton Ice Arena in Maryland. This season 1,535 pieces of hockey equipment valued at nearly $80,000 was collected. LPF distributed nearly all of the hockey equipment collected to 37 schools and sports and nonprofit organizations throughout the D.C. area and beyond.
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.
Fort Dupont: MSE Foundation donated $12,000 to the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club this year and has donated $187,400 to them since 2003. 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, donating $5,000 each year to the arena for the event. In December, captain Alex Ovechkin hosted a holiday skating program for 50 Cannons at Kettler.
Video: Ovi skates with the ASHA at Kettler Capitals Iceplex
Special Hockey: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin hosted more than 60 American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) program participants for a skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in the fall. In addition MSE Foundation raised more than $9,000 for ASHA through an auction that featured Russian-American themed Bauer Vapor 1X skates worn by Ovechkin during pregame warmups on March 23.The Capitals also teamed up with children's charity Dreams for Kids for the eighth consecutive year in February, hoisting an Extreme Recess Hockey Clinic at Kettler for children with physical and developmtal disabilities.
UP2US: MSE Foundation funds two 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 eighth 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 and was distributed to 21 area hockey programs during the 2016-17 season. Since 2009 the Capitals have granted nearly $200,000 to PVAHA, and local hockey participation has increased 37%.
Tucker Road Ducks: MSE Foundation donated $5,300 to the Tucker Road Ducks to help them reach their fundraising goal for equipment. The Tucker Road Youth Hockey Program, more commonly known as the Ducks, play out of Tucker Road Ice Rink in Fort Washington, Md., which was destroyed by a fire on Jan. 4. The MSE Foundation donation garnered attention from Meghan Duggan, who plays for the National Women's Hockey League's (NWHL) Boston Pride and serves as the captain of the U.S. Women's National Team. Duggan donated an additional $1,000 in equipment through CCM. The Ducks continue to accept donations online at GoFundMe.com.
Canine Calendar: The Washington Capitals and MSE Foundation raised $67,298.78 for Homeward Trails Animal Rescue through the 2017 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 $181,000 to Homeward Trails through calendar sales.
Video: Caps Wives help bring annual canine calendar to life
Go Green Auction: In March, MSE Foundation raised nearly $40,000 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 Nashville Predators as well as autographed sticks wrapped with green tape and autographed pucks with green Caps logos. All proceeds benefitted the Anacostia Watershed Society, whose mission is to protect and restore the Anacostia River and its watershed communities by cleaning the water, recovering the shores, and honoring the heritage.
Casino Night: More than 400 hundred fans helped MSE Foundation and the Washington Capitals raise nearly $300,000 for charity at the sixth Capitals Casino Night presented by Leonsis Foundation on Nov. 29 at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, Va. 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: Capitals Casino Night 2016
Hockey is for Everyone: In conjunction with the National Hockey League's Hockey is for Everyone Month, MSE Foundation raised more than $14,000 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. Auction items included an equality-themed mask worn by goaltender Braden Holtby during warmups and sticks wrapped in rainbow-colored 'Pride Tape'.
MSE Foundation raised more than $17,500 for the You Can Play Project through the sale of #RockTheRainbow Capitals T-shirts. The Washington Capitals contingency, including goaltender Braden Holtby, wore #RockTheRainbow T-shirts when participating in the Capital Pride Alliance's 2016 Capital Pride Parade in June in Washington, D.C.
So Kids Can: Karl Alzner, Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby along with Elliot Segal of the Elliot in the Morning Show raised more than $31,000 for Martha's Table Joyful Food Markets through So Kids Can.
Martha's Table Joyful Food Markets' mission is to increase access to and encourage consumption of fresh fruits and vegetable east of the Anacostia River. Joyful Food Markets are run exclusively in elementary schools in Wards 7 and 8.
So Kids Can was created in 2008 by former Capitals defenseman Mike Green and Segal to benefit youth-focused, nonprofit organizations. Backstrom and former Caps forward Brooks Laich joined the cause in 2011 and Alzner and Holtby joined in 2015. Each player and Segal donated $50 per Capitals win during the regular season and $100 per Capitals win during the playoffs.
Nando's Takeover: In September Capitals players Lars Eller, Stanislav Galiev, Nate Schmidt and Tom Wilson provided service at the Ballston Nando's PERi-PERi throughout the day, raising $8,812.27 for MSE Foundation. Eller, Galiev, Schmidt and Wilson shadowed employees and greeted guests, helped take orders at cash registers and delivered food to tables.
For more information on the Capitals' community initiatives, visit WashCaps.com and MonumentalFoundation.org.