ARLINGTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals will celebrate the National Hockey League's Hockey is for Everyone™ Month with several events and initiatives throughout February.
For the 19th year, the NHL has designated February Hockey is for Everyone™ Month to celebrate grassroots hockey and the game's growing diversity. The program offers children of all backgrounds opportunities to play hockey and leverages the sport of hockey as a catalyst to teach essential life skills and the core values of hockey: commitment, perseverance and teamwork. In addition, the initiative supports hockey programs that assist disabled military personnel in returning to their mainstream lifestyles.
Video: What WSH is doing for Hockey is for Everyone Month
Throughout February, visit the Capitals microsite at WashingtonCaps.com/HIFE for the latest information on Hockey is for Everyone™ Month, including news, video recaps and additional content.
The Capitals support of Hockey is for Everyone™ includes:
Feb. 1: The Capitals will host Chinese Cultural Night presented by ORG during the game against the Boston Bruins, featuring a ceremonial puck drop with ORG chairman Zhou Yunjie and Beijing Primary School players. The game will be broadcast in China and feature New Years greetings by Capitals players in honor of the Chinese New Year. The Capitals will host a press event prior to the game announcing the team's Hockey Is For Everyone Month initiatives, featuring founder, majority owner and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Ted Leonsis, Monumental Sports & Entertainment owner and vice chairman Raul Fernandez, Yunjie and youth hockey players from the local region as well as Beijing Primary School.
Feb. 3-March 3: The Washington Capitals will sponsor the Capitals Cup High School Championships. The Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League, Maryland Student Hockey League, Mid-Atlantic Girls Hockey League, Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League, and the Capital Scholastic Hockey League will all conduct their respective playoff tournaments and the winners will receive the designation as "Capitals Cup" winners. The Washington Capitals and MSE Foundation will also provide championship hats and medals to the winning teams as well as honor them for the year at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex on the High School Wall of Fame.
Feb. 4: Capitals alumnus Clint Malarchuk will participate in a skate with the USA Warriors at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The USA Warriors was organized to operate exclusively for charitable and educational purposes for those wounded in defense of the United States. The Program's mission is to organize and administer an ice hockey program that provides a recreational, therapeutic experience and education.
Feb. 4: With the support of the Capitals, The Blind Veterans Association will host Try Blind Hockey at Kettler Capitals Iceplex from 6:30-9:30 p.m., featuring opportunities for visually impaired players of all ages to participate in the sport. The showcase event will feature free gear, coaching, games and ice time.
Feb. 7-9: In conjunction with Etihad Airways, the Capitals will host United Arab Emirates native Fatima Al Ali, in Washington, D.C. Capitals alumnus Peter Bondra met 26-year-old Al Ali while in Abu Dhabi to host a youth hockey clinic at the Pavlikovsky Hockey School. After noticing her stickhandling, Bondra and the Capitals surprised Al Ali with an invitation to Washington. Al Ali will attend the team's Feb. 8 practice, showcasing her skills to players. Al Ali also will participate in a ceremonial puck drop on Feb. 9 prior to the Capitals game versus the Detroit Red Wings.
Feb. 10: For the seventh-consecutive year the Capitals will team up with children's charity Dreams for Kids to host an Extreme Recess Hockey Clinic at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for children with physical and developmental disabilities. Washington Capitals players will skate and play hockey with more than 100 participants. Registration for the event is required. Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation partner Leveling the Playing Field will provide free equipment to participants.
Feb. 11: Prior to the Capitals game versus the Anaheim Ducks, two local youth referees will meet with on-ice and be given tickets by the Capitals. The meet and greet is part of USA Hockey's 'Meet and Shadow the NHL Officials' program in partnership with Zebras Care, a National Hockey League Officials Association program.
Feb. 16-19: The Capitals and Washington Pride will host the annual Junior Women's Hockey League (JWHL) Challenge Cup at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The JWHL All-Star Clinic will be hosted at Kettler from 6:20-7:20 p.m. on Feb. 16, with an All-Star game at 7:30 p.m. The free clinic is offered to local special hockey players as part of the JWHL Challenge Cup and their partnership with the Capitals youth hockey department.
Feb. 19-26: The Capitals will support USA Hockey's Hockey Week Across America, highlighted by Try Hockey for Free Day on Saturday, Feb. 25. Local rinks and associations will have an opportunity to introduce children between the ages of four and nine to youth hockey. A complete list of participating rinks in the Washington, D.C., region will be announced in mid-February. Fans can also visit www.tryhockeyforfree.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. On Friday, Feb. 24, fans are encouraged to wear their Capitals jersey during "Wear Your Favorite Hockey Jersey Day." Sunday, Feb. 26, is "Celebrate Local Hockey Hero's Day," which encourages all involved in the game to develop ways to honor their local hockey heroes.
Feb. 21: The Capitals and DC Public Schools (DCPS) will host DCPS middle school students for a screening of Soul on Ice, a documentary about the history and contributions of black athletes in hockey. Capitals alumnus Reggie Savage, the second black player to be drafted in the first round of the NHL draft, will attend the screening and participate in a Q&A with filmmaker Kwame Mason following the film. For more information visit www.soulonicemovie.com.
The Capitals will host Hockey is for Everyone™ Night when the Capitals play the Edmonton Oilers at Verizon Center. Washington Ice Dogs player Sam Smith will participate in a ceremonial puck drop. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby will wear an equality-themed mask, while select Capitals players will use rainbow-colored 'Pride Tape' during warmups in celebration of the LGBTQ community. The sticks and mask will be autographed by the participating player and auctioned off, with 100% of proceeds benefitting You Can Play. The auction is currently open on Handbid at https://hand.bid/CapsHIFE and will conclude at the end of the second intermission on Feb. 24. Various local youth hockey programs will join in the festivities throughout the game. Montgomery Youth Hockey Association players will scrimmage at Verizon Center at 3 p.m. During the Capitals game, the Chesapeake Wild female hockey team will serve as the flag tunnel. The Wells Warriors hockey club will participate as mites on ice, while players from the American Special Hockey Association will participate in second intermission activities.
Feb. 28: Scarlet Caps, the official women's fan club of the Capitals, will host a free 'Learn To Skate' clinic on Feb. 28 for select members. The session will be followed by a viewing party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex to watch the Capitals game versus the New York Rangers. The evening will also include a panel discussion on women in hockey, to feature local and national female hockey executives and former collegiate and professional players.
The Capitals also will host five hockey schools in February at schools throughout the region. In addition the Capitals will host a hockey school at its adopted school, Hendley Elementary, on Jan. 31 in conjunction with Hockey is for Everyone. Hockey School is a free program, designed to be both instructional and interactive, with the goal of exposing students to floor hockey while teaching proper technique. Following the clinic the Capitals donate a set of street hockey equipment to the school.
In addition, as part of their support of the Hockey is For Everyone initiative, Capitals alumnus Alan Hangsleben participated in a skate with the Gerihatricks in January. The Gerihatricks are a local hockey team for players over the age of 55. The Capitals also hosted its annual Hockey 'n Heels event, featuring instructional sessions and on-ice demonstrations targeted towards the Capitals' female audience.
Hockey Is For Everyone
Hockey is for Everyone™ (HIFE) is the official youth development program of the National Hockey League (NHL) and a component of The Biggest Assist Happens off the Ice™, the NHL's social responsibility program that builds on the League's long-standing tradition of addressing important social issues in North America and around the world. HIFE provides support and unique programing to non-profit youth hockey organizations across North America that are committed to offering children of all backgrounds opportunities to play hockey.