Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation and Washington Capitals American players Taylor Chorney, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, T.J. Oshie, Zach Sanford and Nate Schmidt hosted nearly 130 children and adults assisted by Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) for a skating party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Dec. 22.
The event kicked off the 2016-17 Courage Caps campaign presented by Telos Corporation. Courage Caps are team-issued branded hats and T-shirts that will go on sale beginning Jan. 11, when the Capitals host the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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"This is wonderful for our families," said Diana Hosford, TAPS Chief of Sports and Entertainment. "It's an opportunity for them to have a good time meeting the players, being out on the ice, connecting with them and sharing the heroes in their hearts with their heroes on the ice."
For the sixth-consecutive season, TAPS is the beneficiary of Courage Caps. TAPS is a nonprofit organization that provides comfort and care for anyone who is grieving the death of someone who died while serving in the military. TAPS will receive 100% of the proceeds raised through the sale of Courage Caps.
Skating party attendees participated in an hour long skating session with the Capitals players along with team mascot Slapshot.
"This is my third year doing the Caps Courage skate with the TAPS program," said Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen. "I'm so appreciative with everything they've done, and it really is a humbling experience especially as an American."
Courage Caps and T-shirts will be sold for $20 online at WashingtonCaps.com, at the Washington Capitals Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Team Store and at stands throughout Verizon Center during Capitals home games. There will also be a limited number of autographed Courage Caps and T-shirts available for sale at WashingtonCaps.com and at the MSE Foundation table located behind section 104 on the main concourse at Verizon Center.
Since the program launched during the 2007-08 season, the Courage campaign has raised nearly $775,000 for charity through the sale of more than 22,000 Courage hats in nine years and more than 11,000 Courage T-shirts in seven years.
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America's fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 60,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, healing seminars and retreats for adults, camps for children, casework assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and the 24/7 National Military Survivor Helpline at 800.959.TAPS (8277) available for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org or call TAPS at 202.588.TAPS (8277).