Chris Clark, as Capitals fans are well aware, knows the frustration of not being able to play. At times last year, when he was limited to 18 games due to injuries, he might have felt like a kid cooped up inside on a beautiful summer day.
That may make Clark an ideal candidate for his latest endeavor, as he and his wife, Kim, are working to raise money for a new playground in their summer home of Henderson, N.Y.
“When we first moved to Henderson we took the kids to the playground and it was showing its age,” Chris recalls. “It’s a nice space, but the equipment was old.
“We fell in love with the community and thought this would be a good way to give something back. We’ve gotten a lot of support but there’s a long way to go to make the new playground a reality.”
The centerpiece of the Clarks’ fundraising efforts is a raffle in which the winner will enjoy a one-of-a-kind Capitals experience at a 2008-09 home game. The package includes a two-night stay at the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel and two tickets to the winner’s choice of three games: Nov. 8 against the N.Y. Rangers, Jan. 3 against the N.Y. Rangers or Jan. 17 against Boston. After the game the winner and their guest will be escorted to Verizon Center’s event level to meet Chris and get autographs from the Capitals’ captain and his teammates.
Raffle tickets are just $20 and entry forms can be found online at http://www.aplacetoplayhenderson.com/
. Entries are due Oct. 15, with the winning ticket drawn Oct. 19.
Henderson is a small town on Lake Ontario in Upstate New York, north of Syracuse, which sees its population swell in the summer months – including lots of children looking to enjoy their time off from school. The Clarks worked with some of the town leaders to set up a nonprofit organization and spent time this summer – amid Chris’s rehab trips to Vancouver – developing the website and raising awareness for the project.
Already their progress is impressive. Construction begins on the first stage of the new playground in Henderson this weekend, with the first stage designed for toddlers. Funds raised by events like the raffle will contribute to a second stage, designed for school-age children.
Caps fans have high hopes as Chris returns to the ice this fall. And thanks to the efforts of he and his wife – and the generous support of fans and sponsors – the families of Henderson can be optimistic about a new place to play in their town.