ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals forwards Joel Ward and Michael Latta and defenseman Brooks Orpik participated in a practice with children from the Fort Dupont Cannons and the Kids on Ice program on Feb. 9.
Founded in 1978 by Neal Henderson, the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Program (FDIHP) is a development program that provides local and inner-city youth in Washington, D.C., the opportunity to participate in an organized ice hockey program. Kids on Ice is a community ice skating program for children offering free lessons with all equipment provided.
The event was held in conjunction with the Capitals celebration of Hockey is for Everyone™ Month, a league-wide initiative that offers children of all backgrounds the opportunity to play hockey and leverages the sport as a catalyst to teach essential life skills and the core values of hockey: commitment, perseverance and teamwork.
“Fort Dupont runs wonderful programs, and its staff does a great job teaching the kids skills that will help them succeed not only on the ice, but off-ice as well,” said Ward. “My teammates and I were glad to join the Cannons for practice and hope they enjoyed the experience.”
In December Ward presented a check in the amount of $26,000 on behalf of MSE Foundation to Fort Dupont. The funds are part of a grant MSE Foundation received from the Teammates for Kids Foundation. Fourteen Capitals players, including Ward, made pledges to the Teammates for Kids Foundation’s Top Shelf Teammates program. Every dollar contributed by players is tripled through an affiliation with other donors.
Through grants received from the Teammates for Kids Foundation, the Washington Capitals have donated $113,000 to the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Program since 2004.
Fort Dupont Ice Arena is the only full-size indoor ice arena in Washington, D.C., and the Cannons are the oldest minority youth hockey program in North America. The FDICP is the oldest ice hockey program that is a member of the Hockey is for Everyone™ initiative. The program’s goal is to teach young people discipline, self-esteem, a sense of purpose and to offer an incentive to excel academically.