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Salute to the Military Night at Verizon Center
Photos by Barbara Banks
Confidence. Admiration. Pride. Support. Significant words to describe the outstanding efforts of the Washington Capitals organization and their devoted fans to express sincere gratitude to the men and women who have served in the United States military. Over 500 service members and their families were in attendance Tuesday to see the Caps play the New York Islanders. The complimentary tickets were provided by the Washington Capitals with the support of corporate sponsors.
Tuesday evening marked the twelfth annual Salute to the Military Night. The Caps paid tribute to the troops throughout the evening through in-game and intermission activities beginning with a ceremonial puck drop by wounded warrior, retired US Army Captain Mark Little. The Capitals youth hockey flag tunnel was comprised of players from Navy Youth Hockey, and the ice crew consisted of members of the USA Warriors and National Capital Region Joint Military hockey teams. During the second intermission, fans were treated to the USA Warriors hockey team in an exciting skills competition. Captain Mark Little, a double amputee, impressed the fans by skating with two prosthetic legs and scoring on the goalie.
Prior to the game, the Caps warmed-up in camouflage jerseys which were signed and auctioned off during the game. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. TAPS is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to anyone who has suffered the loss of a military loved one.
Fans were also able to purchase the always popular Courage Caps and t-shirts starting at $20. Autographed merchandised was priced a bit higher. This year the Courage Caps are sponsored by the Telos Corporation, a company that provides cybersecurity to wide variety of government agencies and beyond. Fans not in attendance can purchase a cap or shirt on the Washington Capitals official web site. All proceeds from the caps and shirts will benefit TAPS.
Another major attraction for Military Night was the indoor debut of fans’ favorite sidewalk celebrity, Ovie the Bulldog (pictured below). The Verizon Center welcomed the popular pooch into the venue in support of Dogs on Deployment, a national non-profit which provides an online network for service members to search for volunteers who are willing to board their pets during their owner’s service commitments. Always a fan favorite, Ovie commanded a lot of attention which prompted donations for this very worthy cause.
Kudos to the Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation for providing fans with the opportunity to publicly show their appreciation to service members. It was a remarkable and inspiring evening.