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During the 2023-24 season, the Washington Capitals, its players, and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation (MSE Foundation) continued to give back to the community and grow participation in hockey throughout the region. Through fundraising and programming efforts, the Capitals and MSE Foundation supported numerous organizations in an array of missions. The organization's efforts resulted in $1,768,584 raised for charity.

Over the next five weeks, is taking a look back at highlights across the following categories:

Caps Care Community Programs and Initiatives

Theme Nights and NHL Platforms

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation

Capitals Player Programs

Youth Hockey Development

This week, recaps Capitals Player Programs:

Dowd’s Crowd: In 2018, Nic and Paige Dowd created Dowd's Crowd to provide the opportunity for a child with sensory issues to be able to attend and enjoy a Caps game. Tickets and a Dowd's Crowd branded sensory kit are provided to recipients who are selected through local organizations and schools. The Dowds were inspired to launch this player program due to Paige's education in Speech Therapy in college. Throughout the 2023-24 season, the Dowds continued to enjoy being able to meet with their ticket recipient’s post-game.

Dowd's Crowd

America’s VetDogs: In April, the Dowds announced a collaboration with America’s VetDogs through which the Dowds are sponsoring a black Labrador future service dog named ‘Judy’ through proceeds raised via their Dowd’s Crowd community program.

Judy is being raised by a volunteer puppy raiser in both the Washington, D.C., area and Boston, Massachusetts, fostering her confidence and composure as she progresses towards her role as a future service dog. Upon completion of her initial training phase, Judy will then return to the America’s VetDogs campus in Smithtown, New York, where she will begin her formal service dog training. Judy was born on January 15. The Dowds named Judy based upon Nic Dowd’s nickname ‘Judy,’ which was given to Nic by teammates during a game of sewer ball.

So Kids Soar (Dowd)

So Kids Soar: In November, Dowd’s Crowd teamed up with Charlie and Mikkayla Lindgren’s Lindy’s Lineup to host a So Kids Soar adaptive skate at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. Approximately 50 children skated with the Dowds, Lindgrens and additional Capitals players following a Capitals practice.

Forty Three’s Friends: In 2018, Tom Wilson created 43's Friends to provide tickets and a special postgame meet and greet to kids waiting for their wishes to be granted by Make-a-Wish Mid-Atlantic. In 2019, he expanded his program to also include families selected by United Heroes League. Over the course of a season, he donates tickets to families selected through Make-a-Wish Mid-Atlantic and United Heroes League and meets with the families postgame.

Wilson UHL Clinic

UHL Clinic: On Dec. 8, Wilson surprised more than 70 local children affiliated with United Heroes League by joining them in a hockey clinic at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. United Heroes League is also a partner organization of Wilson’s player program, Forty Three’s Friends.

Washingtonian of the Year: In December, Wilson was named a Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine. Wilson was among 10 local individuals honored for their efforts to make the region a better place to live. Wilson was selected for the list, in its 52nd year, based on his contributions to the community during the 2022-23 Capitals season, including through his player programs Forty Three’s Friends and So Kids Can.

Wilson Washingtonian of the Year

Lindy’s Lineup: Capitals goaltender Charlie Lindgren and his wife Mikkayla launched Lindy’s Lineup, a player program focused on adaptive youth sports, in November. The mission of Lindy's Lineup is to provide opportunities for youth involved in adaptive sports as well as for children in special education classrooms. The Lindgrens were inspired to launch Lindy’s Lineup based on Mikkayla's background and current career in pediatric occupational therapy.

Lindy's Lineup

So Kids Soar: Lindy’s Lineup hosted a joint skate with Nic and Paige Dowd’s Dowd’s Crowd and the Washington, D.C., based nonprofit So Kids Soar in November. So Kids Soar provides free adaptive athletic, recreational and skill-building activities that empower youth with physical and development disabilities.

So Kids Can: So Kids Can members Nicklas Backstrom, Martin Fehervary, Tom Wilson and The Elliot in the Morning Show’s Elliot Segal pledge $50 per Capitals win during the regular season and $100 per win during the playoffs each year to a different youth-focused nonprofit organization. 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 goaltender Braden Holtby joined in 2015, Wilson joined in 2017, former Capitals defenseman Brenden Dillon joined in 2021 and Fehervary joined in 2022. To date, So Kids Can has donated more than half a million dollars to charity.

So Kids Can

To kick off the 2023-24 season fundraising campaign, So Kids Can announced the So Kids Can Starting Lineup Sweepstakes to benefit the nonprofit Fight For Children. Through the sweepstakes, one winner had the opportunity to attend the Capitals Sept. 28, preseason game versus the Detroit Red Wings and read the starting lineup in the locker room to the team ahead of the game.

Proceeds were used to support Fight For Children’s Equipment, Apparel and Footwear program. The initiative supplies community-based nonprofits with new equipment to distribute to underserved children in order for them to participate in sports. In March, the So Kids Can members donated $10,000 in equipment to Volo Kids. They surprised children at a Vol Kids youth sports clinic, spending time playing different sports and making a $10,000 donation of sports equipment.

Ovi’s 8’s: In 2006, Ovechkin created Ovi's 8's to provide tickets to underserved children in the region. Currently, Ovechkin purchases eight Capitals season tickets and donates them to the American Special Hockey Association.

ASHA then distributes these tickets to participants in the four local Special Hockey teams: Baltimore Saints, Montgomery Cheetahs, NOVA Cool Cats, and Washington Ice Dogs.

Since the creation of this program, Ovechkin has donated nearly 6,100 tickets to the community. He also hosts an event for all ASHA participants annually.

Ovi Asha

American Special Hockey Association Skate: Nearly 50 players from American Special Hockey Association programs participated in a skate with Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin when he hosted a hockey clinic on Jan. 11 at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. The event marked the seventh season Ovechkin has hosted ASHA for a skating or street hockey event. Ovechkin’s influence can be felt throughout communities across the United States. When Ovechkin hosted the first skate in 2014, there were 45 programs accessibility across 30 cities. ASHA continues to grow and now includes over 125 programs across the country. There are three ASHA teams in Washington, D.C., as well as teams in Richmond, Virginia, York and Hershey Pennsylvania, home to the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears.