– Washington Capitals forward Mike Knuble
, defenseman Dennis Wideman
, assistant coach Dean Evason and mascot Slapshot visited Crofton Elementary School in Crofton, Md., on Monday, Dec. 12, to host the Capitals Hockey School.
The players began the session fielding questions from students in the school’s gymnasium before directing a floor hockey clinic with 190 fourth- and fifth-grade students. Knuble and Wideman instructed the students on basic hockey skills such as stick-handling, passing and shooting. The students were then called on to try out the skills in front of their peers. Two students volunteered to be dressed as goaltenders, learning how to put on the equipment and how to handle the goalie stick. Before the kids started in a scrimmage, the girls and boys competed in a shootout competition. Wideman represented the girls’ team and defeated Knuble and the boys’ team 5-2.
Following the shootout competition, the students played alongside the pair of players and Slapshot in a friendly scrimmage. Wideman played with the girls and came out on top, defeating Knuble and the boys 1-0. The hour-long program concluded with the Capitals donating a set of hockey equipment to the elementary school.
“You could tell there were a lot of hockey fans in the audience because of all the Caps T-shirts and jerseys the kids were wearing,” said Knuble. “The kids were really loud today,” said Wideman. “It was good to lead the girls’ team to victory today. I hope they continue to play with all of the equipment because they all seemed pretty skilled.”
All students who participated in the session received autographs from Knuble and Wideman, Caps squishy pucks and Hockey 101 booklets. The school also received an official Capitals Hockey School banner to display in their school year-round.
This was the sixth Capitals Hockey School visit this season. The Capitals host two Hockey School visits each month between September and May and donate street hockey equipment to each participating school.
This is the fifth-consecutive year the Capitals have conducted their Hockey School program. The Caps have hosted more than 50 clinics and reached more than 7,500 students in the past four years. Hockey School is a free program, designed to be both instructional and interactive, with the goal of exposing students to floor hockey while teaching proper hockey technique. Each school will receive an official Capitals Hockey School banner to display in their school year-round.