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by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Dec. 19 Washington Capitals players Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Mike Green, Brooks Laich and Joel Ward, Washington Mystics player Monique Currie and Washington Wizards players Jordan Crawford, Shelvin Mack, Hamady Ndiaye and John Wall delivered Christmas presents to three underserved families in Washington, D.C., as part of Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s (MSE) Family-to-Family program.

This is the first year that all three MSE sports teams collaborated on the Family-to-Family program, which the Wizards created 15 years ago. The program allows the Caps, Mystics and Wizards to “adopt” families in need who are nominated by local schools and nonprofit organizations. This holiday season more than 20 families were adopted by the teams’ charities, individual players and staff members.

“This is a great way to kick off our season,” said Wall. “This is the first year I’ve participated in this program, and it really got everyone in the holiday spirit. It felt great to see all the smiles today and I look forward to doing it again.”

Backstrom, Carlson, Green, Laich, Ward, Currie, Crawford, Mack, Ndiaye and Wall, along with Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld, team mascots G-Wiz and Slapshot, Red Rockers, Wizard Girls, MSE staff members and local media boarded a bus at Verizon Center loaded with gifts for the families. The players spent the afternoon delivering presents to the Felder-Leslie family in Woodbridge, the White family in Trinidad and the Thompson family in Rosedale – all neighborhoods in northeast Washington.

“I’ve done this in the past on my own,” said Green. “It was great to be able to share this experience with my teammates and players from the Wizards and Mystics. All of the families were so excited to see us and it was fun to spread some holiday cheer.”

Currie added that “being able to lend a hand and brighten the lives of the families really helped remind me the meaning of the holiday season.”

The teams will continue to spread holiday cheer with the remaining families at the Family-to-Family Holiday Party on Wednesday, Dec. 21, from 6-8 p.m. on the Wizards practice court at Verizon Center. Mystics Monique Currie, Wizards players Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin, Chris Singleton and Ronny Turiaf will join Caps players Karl Alzner and fiancée Mandy Flemmer, Jeff and Kelley Halpern, Roman Hamrlik and his girlfriend Cynthia Lavoie, Michal Neuvirth and his girlfriend Monika Hybnerova, Dennis Wideman and fiancée Lindsay MacDonald as they interact with more than 100 children from the metropolitan area. The families will enjoy food, games, gifts and a visit from Santa.

The Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation supports the charitable efforts of the professional teams under its umbrella: The Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards. MSE is committed to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and focuses on the following five pillars to maximize its impact on the community: education and scholarship, hunger and homelessness, military and veterans’ affairs, pediatric health and fitness and youth basketball and hockey.
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