Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik surprised the Tucker Road Youth Hockey Program of Fort Washington, Md., with a visit on Jan. 10 to present the Tucker Road Ducks with 25 new sets of hockey equipment courtesy of the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) Goals & Dreams fund.
The Ducks play out of the Tucker Road Ice Rink in Fort Washington, which was destroyed by a fire in January of 2017. The fire not only damaged the building, leaving the Ducks without a place to practice and play games, but also ruined thousands of dollars' worth of donated equipment used by the team.
Video: Orpik Surprises Tucker Road Ducks
Upon learning of the disaster, Orpik reached out to see how he could help the organization and facilitated the donation with the NHLPA.
On Wednesday Orpik visited Bowie Ice Arena in Bowie, Md., and presented the Ducks with the gear, participated in a Q&A with the youth players and signed autographs.
"The donation of 25 sets new hockey equipment means so much and will hugely impact the success of our program now and into the future," said Tucker Road Parent Hockey Organization President Alexandria Briggs-Blake.
In addition to Orpik's involvement, Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, the charitable arm of the Washington Capitals, donated $5,300 to the Tucker Road program last season. MSE Foundation's donation was used by the team to secure ice time at other locations throughout the region so they could continue to practice and play games.
The Tucker Road Ducks continue to accept donations online through the Tucker Road Parent Hockey Organization, whose mission is to foster and support youth ice hockey development at Tucker Road Ice Rink by providing children the opportunity to learn and play ice hockey regardless of their socio-economic status.
Funds will be used to secure ice time at other rinks, participate in tournaments, provide bus transportation to tournaments and for team events. A new rink is currently slated to open in the fall of 2019.
In 1999, the NHLPA launched the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund as a way for the players to give something back to the game they love. The players' program has donated full sets of hockey equipment that have benefited more than 70,000 economically challenged children in 34 countries and has assisted with upgrades and the building of hundreds of arenas world-wide. To date, NHLPA Goals & Dreams has donated more than $24 million to grassroots hockey programs around the world to make it the largest program of its kind. For more information on the NHLPA, please visit www.NHLPA.com.