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Third Annual Autism Awareness Day, Sunday, Feb. 24

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
Special silent auction to benefit Athletes Against Autism


ARLINGTON, Va. – February 14, 2008 –
The Washington Capitals will host their third annual Autism Awareness Day on Sunday, Feb. 24, when they host the New Jersey Devils at Verizon Center. The first team in the National Hockey League to hold this event in collaboration with Athletes Against Autism, Washington’s inaugural Autism Awareness Night on Dec. 27, 2005, helped spark 13 other teams to hold similar events. More than $55,000 has been raised at the Capitals’ Autism Awareness Nights to support the charity since their beginning.

The special evening will be highlighted by a silent auction to benefit Athletes Against Autism, an initiative of Autism Speaks co-founded by Capitals goaltender Olie Kolzig. The Capitals will be auctioning off unique, practice-worn jerseys featuring Athletes Against Autism patches on the front with players’ names and numbers on the back, worked into the Autism Speaks trademark puzzle piece. The jerseys will be worn during the team’s morning skate on Feb. 20. Each jersey will be autographed and jerseys for all players on the roster will be available to bid on.

American Special Hockey Association teams will be taking part in Mites on Ice during the first intermission of the Capitals game, while Athletes Against Autism patches will be sold for $2 each at the community relations table located on the main concourse behind section 104. All proceeds will benefit the organization. Kolzig will host members of American Special Hockey in his special section at Verizon Center, Olie’s All-Stars. A portion of tickets purchased through the Capitals website will also be donated to Autism Speaks, Athletes Against Autism and the American Special Hockey Association. 

Fourteen exceptionally generous donors will also have the chance to watch the game from a luxury suite, receive autographed memorabilia and meet Kolzig after the game. For additional information and pricing on this unique opportunity, please contact Sam Levitt at (323) 549-0500 ext. 747.

About Athletes Against Autism

Athletes Against Autism was founded by a group of athletes, touched by autism, who are harnessing their efforts into one voice in order to raise awareness and funds for autism research, treatment and family support programs. For more information about Athletes Against Autism, visit www.athletesagainstautism.org.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism, and to advocating for the needs of affected families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman, General Electric, and served as chief executive officer of NBC for more than twenty years. Autism Speaks has merged with both the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's three leading autism advocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.

About American Special Hockey Association
Special Hockey exists for the enrichment of the athlete with a developmental disability. In addition to physical hockey skills, the program emphasizes the development of desirable individual characteristics such as dependability, self-reliance, concentration, willingness to share and personal accountability. The game of hockey is used by Special Hockey to develop within each player the characteristics that will help the player to be more successful both inside and outside a hockey
environment. For more information about American Special Hockey Association, visit www.americanspecialhockey.org.

About Autism
Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that now affects an estimated one in every 150 children in the United States. Autism is commonly diagnosed by the age three, and in some cases, as early as one year. Characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills, social interactions, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, children with autism can exhibit symptoms that run from mild to severe with widely differing symptom profiles.
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