Washington, D.C. - The Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation Pride auction benefiting SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) raised $14,575 for the nonprofit.
The auction featured nearly 30 items, including autographed Capitals player-used sticks wrapped in rainbow-color "Pride Tape" and autographed Pride T-shirts, jerseys, pucks and basketballs from the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics.
SMYAL is a nonprofit that works to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in the Washington metropolitan area. Through youth leadership, SMYAL creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to build self-confidence, develop critical life skills and engage their peers and community through service and advocacy. Committed to social change, SMYAL builds, sustains, and advocates for programs, policies, and services that LGBTQ youth need as they grow into adulthood. In addition to working in schools and communities across the DMV, SMYAL has a comprehensive housing program for homeless LGBTQ youth that provides safe and stable shelter, food, case management services, crisis intervention and community support for its residents.
In honor of June's Pride Month, the marquee boards at Capital One Arena were taken over with a "LOVE WINS" banner and graphics featuring the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics on June 16. Team social channels have featured pride-related avatars and graphics as well as content featuring fans and voices of the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, a Mystics Pride Microsite features additional pride content, merchandise, an enter-to-win Mystics prize pack, COVID-19 related resources for the LGBTIQ+ community and more.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment and its teams have annually participated in Pride Month celebrations and supported LGBTQ+ causes throughout the year, including annual team pride theme nights.
The 2019 Capital Pride Parade marked the third year Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby participated in pride festivities, having marched in previous events with the MSE contingency. Holtby has also served as the Capitals' You Can Play ambassador during past NHL Hockey is For Everyone campaigns. In addition, Holtby has been a speaker at the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner, where he shared remarks on the importance of equality. In addition, in honor of the NHL's June 26 Pride Day, Capitals forward Lars Eller shared a message in support of the LGBTQ community. Last year's 2019 Capital Pride Parade marked the fourth year Monumental Sports and its players and staff participated in the event. To date Pride auctions and team initiatives have raised more than $95,000 for LGBTQ+ related charities.