Caps Players & Fans Take On a Playground in Alexandria (and Win!)

Posted September 13, 2012

Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, and Elliot Segal (from Elliot in the Morning) in front of the Slapshot sign on the newly constructed playground (All Photos Credit: M. Richter).

It was a sea of red today in Old Town Alexandria, where Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, and Brooks Laich were joined by over 200 volunteers in this year’s So Kids Can project.  Over the course of six hours, a new S.T.A.R.S. playground was constructed.

Volunteers help to assemble the new equipment.

Green has been involved in So Kids Can since founding the award-winning organization in 2008 with Elliot Segal (host of Elliot in the Morning on DC101).  This is the second year that the charity has been involved in a playground project in partnership with the nonprofit KaBOOM, a charity which focuses on improving communities by building safe play spaces.  The playground itself was designed with the help of local children, who participated in a Design Day on August 15.

Nicklas Backstrom, Mulch Master.

Backstrom and Laich are more recent additions to So Kids Can, joining the cause in the past year.  Both were involved in pushing for an Alexandria location for this year’s playground, and Laich spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony about the importance of giving back to the community that all three of the players now call home during the NHL season.  As part of the cooperative project, the Alexandria Redevelopment & Housing Authority (ARHA) contributed both manpower and supplies to the effort.

An ARHA volunteer helps to rake mulch near the jungle gym and climbing wall.

While the local youngsters were thrilled to see all of the new equipment this afternoon when they arrived home from school, they’re going to have to wait a few days for the cement to set before it’s safe to use.

Several hundred local children are expected to benefit from the new playground, located on the 500 block of N. Royal Street in Alexandria.  In addition to the construction of play equipment, several small projects were completed to benefit the Ruby Tucker Community Center, including the assembly of easels and storage containers.

Two volunteers assemble easels for use at the RTCC.

Below, you’ll find a few more photos from today’s event.  The rest can be found here on the author’s flickr.

Brooks Laich and a small child attempt precision work with a screwdriver.

Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom help haul a load of mulch. By the end of the day, everyone had assisted in redistributing the massive pile of shock-absorbing goodness.

Volunteers tamp down the newly laid mulch, with some musical assistance from Jarrod of Metro DC DJ’s.

All of the shirts, even those worn by the players, read “Volunteer” across the back.

Always eager to do his part, Slapshot commandeered a wheel barrow after getting kicked off of the mulch pile.

The players were great about signing autographs, as shown here by a volunteer’s t-shirt.

The “ribbon” for the cutting ceremony was comprised of thank you notes from neighbourhood children, many of whom had a hand in the playground’s design process.