Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis announced Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation’s donation of $10,000 to the NHL’s Thurgood Marshall College Fund at the Congressional Hockey Caucus Briefing on Capitol Hill on April 24. At the briefing NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Thurgood Marshall College Fund chief financial officer Velma R. Hart announced the 2013 recipients, Richard Lucas of the Ed Snider Hockey Foundation in Philadelphia and Donald Shaw III of the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club in Washington, D.C.
This academic scholarship is part of the partnership between the NHL and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for participants in the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone (HIFE) initiative, the League’s official youth development program. MSE Foundation earmarked its donation for a HIFE participant from the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and thus will benefit Shaw.
Leonsis proudly introduced Shaw, and was clearly impressed with the student’s accolades, joking that he would be a future U.S. president.
“Hockey motivated me, especially senior year,” said Shaw. “Colleges don’t take just athletes anymore. You have to be a good student as well. Colleges are now looking for a student-athlete.”
Shaw, 17, is a forward and defenseman with the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club’s Cannons team in Washington, D.C., and has been with the program since 2005.
Growing up Shaw would often spend two to three hours a night at Fort Dupont.
“Fort Dupont became my second home. I hope it stays that way even into my sixties,” said Shaw, who often plays pick-up games with older crowds at the rink.
Although his passion is hockey, Shaw has found success in track and field, basketball and swimming, and aspires to pilot the Globemaster aircraft for the U.S. Air Force. He has been accepted to Elmira College in Elmira, N.Y., and hopes to make the junior varsity Soaring Eagles Hockey NCAA Division III team.
Shaw’s coach, Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club founder Neal Henderson, praised Shaw’s dedication to school and athletics.
“I had no trouble training him as he became the young mind he is today,” said Henderson. “He was quite a student in school which makes it easy to be in hockey. I hope others see what talent can do – make them understand what education is all about.”
Shaw too hopes other athletes are inspired by his story.
“It’s really good for the other kids to see it’s possible for us to do good things,” he said. “I think the main message it sends is to stick with the organization and keep up grades. Also have a positive attitude because together they will take you far.”
Under the direction of Bettman, who serves on its board of directors, the NHL’s Thurgood Marshall College Fund scholarship was developed in 2012 from monies raised from the annual Congressional Hockey Challenge, the charity hockey game pitting members of Congress and staff against registered lobbyists. To date more than $250,000 has been raised in support of the scholarship which allows recipients the opportunity to attend any four-year college or university in the U.S.
Hockey is for Everyone provides support and unique programming to nonprofit youth hockey organizations across North America that are committed to offering children of all backgrounds opportunities to play hockey. The initiative is supported by NHL member clubs, players, alumni and fans. To date, Hockey is for Everyone has exposed more than 45,000 boys and girls to unique hockey experiences.
Founded in 1978 by Henderson, the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club is a developmental program that provides inner-city youth with the opportunity to participate in an organized ice hockey program. Skaters have a wide range of experience in skating and playing the game, with ages ranging from eight to 17. The club’s goal is to provide educational purpose and teach young people discipline, via sports activities, to establish self-esteem, a sense of purpose and to offer an incentive to excel academically. For more information, visit fdihc.org.
Created in 2013, Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation supports the charitable efforts of all the professional teams under its umbrella: the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards. The foundation is committed to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and focuses on the following five pillars to maximize its impact on the community: education and scholarship, hunger and homelessness, military and veterans' affairs, pediatric health and fitness and youth basketball and hockey.