Changing Faces Don’t Hurt the Caps When It Comes to Community Involvement

Posted February 2, 2012

Jay Beagle checks in with a girl being introduced to sledge hockey (All Photos Credit: M. Richter).

This afternoon, the Washington Capitals hosted their second “Extreme Recess” in partnership with Dreams for Kids (DFK).  It’s part of a series of events run by the nonprofit that are designed to “[give] children ages 4-24 with physical and developmental challenges the opportunity to participate in sports.”  It’s a great project, and serves to raise both awareness of special needs in the region and the spirits of the children it assists.

John Erskine poses for a photo with Brendan, a second year attendee, and his mentor.

The Caps have always been enthusiastic participants in the program, but today’s “Recess” was a sea of fresh faces after last year’s participants scattered to the four winds.  In February of 2011, four veteran members of the Capitals organization took part in the skate – Matt Bradley (now with the Panthers), Tom Poti (ghost of the LTIR), and Dave Steckel (present-day Maple Leaf), and Assistant Coach Bob Woods (joined BB in Anaheim).  The current crop featured Jay Beagle, Jason Chimera, and John Erskine.

None of the players who took the time to hit the ice with DFK today are new to the Capitals organization, but it’s the first time they’ve been involved with this particular charity.  It’s easy to take

Slapshot was the only Capitals "Player" to return for the second year of the program.

the approach that the team assigns players to their version of mandatory community service (especially in the case of Caps @School),but most players are legitimately interested in giving back to the community.  The trick is finding ways to do so, when shuffling between cities and organizations, and the Caps’ Community Relations department deserves a mention for their successful coordination between player and franchise efforts and interests.  CR provides the opportunities, and the players step in and do the rest.

The presence of three entirely new faces on the special hockey scene in today’s DFK skate reflects the fact that despite regular turnover on the team’s roster – most recently today’s decision to send Cody Eakin back to Hershey and call up AHL superstar Keith Aucoin, coupled with a larger scale adjustment as Hershey’s Matt Ford (LW) and Danny Richmond (D) were traded for Kevin Marshall (D) and Mike Carman (C) respectively – the Capitals take their commitment to community causes seriously.

61 children took part in today's DFK Extreme Recess at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, pictured here with the volunteers and players who skated with them.