– Washington Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis and forward Mike Knuble
attended the third-annual Congressional Hockey Challenge charity hockey game on March 10 at Verizon Center which raised $100,000 for the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club and Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena. Leonsis welcomed the fans and the teams, letting everyone know that he was proud to host the event at Verizon Center for the first time. Knuble dropped the ceremonial first puck to get the festivities under way.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine and NHL alumni Kevin Weeks and Willie O’Ree also attended the game that featured Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Congressman Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY), Congressman Pat Meehan (R-PA), Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY). The Lobbyists defeated the Lawmakers for the second-consecutive year, winning 5-3. LaFontaine and Caps alumnus Alan May served as honorary coaches for the winning team.
Founded in 1978 by Neal Henderson, the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club is an NHL-sponsored, award-winning charitable organization providing local and inner-city youth with the opportunity to participate in an organized ice hockey program. Participants have a wide range of experience in skating and game play, and ages range from eight to 17. The program teaches young people discipline through athletics and coaching, and helps establish self-esteem, a sense of purpose, and offers an incentive to excel academically. The benefits of organized sports extend far beyond the rink: the girls and boys who join the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club learn life skills. As these children grow, they will become better citizens and will learn to give and anticipate respect. Children participating in the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club have a 100 percent high school graduation rate, and more than 90 percent continue to higher education.
The home rink of the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, the Fort Dupont Ice Arena is situated on National Park Service land and operated by Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, a nonprofit organization. The arena is the only public, indoor ice rink in the city of Washington. Fort Dupont Ice Arena has been named an America’s Promise “Safe Place” – a safe place for young people with structured activities during non-school hours. This designation was awarded to the arena in December of 2001 by America’s Promise, the Alliance for Youth organization founded by General Colin L. Powell. It serves as an anchor in its community and as a place of refuge for children in need by providing skating instruction and classroom activities free of charge, or at highly affordable rates.To view photos from the event, click here.