Each year The Capitals participate in "Jerseys Off Our Backs" ceremony following the last regular season home game where each Capitals player will autograph and present his game-worn jersey to pre-selected fans following the conclusion of the game. Two receipients in particular are sharing their love of the Caps with the community. Their stories are below:
Capitals Community Leader
Fan donates tickets to create unforgettable memories for local kids.
Sterling Strange began playing hockey at 6 years old, but growing up in Tulsa, OK, there was no NHL team for him to follow. Years later, as a student at Georgetown University, he quickly latched on to the first NHL team he found: the Washington Capitals.
Although funds were limited for Strange as a college student, he made the trip to the Capital Centre whenever he could afford to do so. Fast forward to present day: Strange lives in Dallas, TX, but has been sharing season tickets with a friend so that he can attend Caps games whenever he is in the area.
Due to his schedule, there are times when Strange can't make it back to the east coast when it's his turn to use his tickets. Strange uses these instances to create unforgettable memories for local kids battling various life-threatening diseases.
"These kids, through absolutely no fault of their own, have just been given a difficult circumstance in life. And while their friends are going to school and playing on playgrounds, they're in a hospital room scared and getting stuck with needles. Their parents are praying they won't have to experience every parent's worst nightmare. If I can give them a night away from that to enjoy a hockey game and wear the jersey of their favorite player, it's really the least I can do," said Sterling.
Not only did Sterling donate VIP tickets, but he also purchased a jersey of the child's favorite player to be given to the child upon his or her arrival at the game. Despite having some of the best seats in the house, the highlight of the child's night was getting to meet a Capitals player post-game. From speechlessness, to tears, to overwhelming joy, the moment the player and child met was always a memorable one.
When asked what inspired him to donate his tickets, Strange said "Hockey has brought me so much joy in my life and shaped so much of who I am today. Looking back, my life has truly been a fantasy, and I always told myself if I were ever fortunate to have season tickets in great seats, I wanted to donate some of those games to kids so they could experience the game like I've been able to."
Sterling was honored to learn that he was selected as the Caps Community Leader for the Jersey's Off Our Backs ceremony. The community leader spot is given to someone who exemplifies service and care for others throughout the Caps community.
Capitals Teacher of the Year
Local teacher shares her love of the Caps with her students.
When it comes to combining Washington Capitals hockey and the classroom, few people do it better than Vicky Flynt, a second-grade teacher at Arlington Traditional School.
Flynt moved to the D.C. region from California 12 years ago. While living in California, Flynt was far in proximity from any local teams - so it wasn't until arriving in Washington, D.C., that she was fully exposed to hockey. Her husband brought her to her first Caps game after arriving in the region, and she has been a fan ever since.
With Medstar Capitals Iceplex located only one mile from her school, Flynt started the tradition of bringing her class to a Capitals practice every season. What began as just her students has now grown into the entire second grade of nearly 100 children. Flynt shares her love of the Capitals by incorporating them into lessons, decorating her classroom and sharing the joy the Caps bring her with her class.
Flynt says she became a teacher because, "I love working with children, and each day is a new experience with the kids."
Her favorite Caps memories are attending games with her family and sharing her love of the Caps with her students, especially when they come to the practice facility to see her favorite team in action.
When Flynt was informed that she was selected as the Capitals Teacher recipient for the Jersey's Off Our Backs ceremony she said, "I am truly honored and delighted and it is my pleasure to continue the wonderful partnership between my school and the Capitals organization. This night will be one of the highlights of my life."