Sunday was a picture-perfect day on the National Mall, fitting for the Washington Capitals’ visit to the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden Ice Rink for its first Community Day.
Four Capitals – Donald Brashear, Ben Clymer, Boyd Gordon and Brooks Laich
– took the ice Sunday for two hours of public skating and ice hockey demonstrations. Former Capital and current Comcast SportsNet analyst Joe Reekie emceed the event.
“It was a beautiful day and a great setting,” Clymer said. “We had a great turnout and I know the players all had a blast. Hopefully everyone who joined us there did as well.”
The Pavilion Café offered free hot chocolate as guests were invited to join an hour-long public skate with the Capitals and special guests from the National Gallery, including curators Arthur Wheelock and Meg Grasselli. The Caps mingled with the curators, posed for pictures with fans and signed autographs.
Off the ice, Gallery staff offered tours of the Sculpture Garden, as well as special talks on Gilbert Stuart’s painting “The Skater.”
After the public skate, skating coach Wendy Marco from Cold Rush Hockey led the Capitals – and a group of her students – through a series of drills to show off the skills of elite skaters.
Marco’s skaters ranged from mites to high school players. The Capitals joined them in everything from relay and drag races to tire jumping.
“The kids were great skaters,” Laich said. “Some of those drills were tough, but it was fun to skate with the kids and the crowd seemed to appreciate it.”
A large crowd remained to watch the skating demonstration and a presentation by figure skaters from Fort Dupont Ice Arena that followed.