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Fatima at the Caps Game
The Capitals have been hosting United Arab Emirates native Fatima Al Ali this week. 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. She arrived on February 5, accompanied by her brother Mohammed.
The Caps have been showing Al Ali a really good time and providing her with awesome experiences to last a lifetime. She spent time sightseeing, participated in a Junior Women’s Hockey League Washington Pride practice, saw an exciting Wizards game, and visited the United Arab Emirates Embassy. Al Ali also saw her first Caps game where she met her idol, Alex Ovechkin, in the locker room after Tuesday night’s shutout against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Her trip was highlighted on February 8, at the conclusion of the Caps’ 11:30 a.m. practice, where she joined the team on the ice to showcase her stickhandling. She was thrilled when Ovi gave her his game-used stick at the end of practice. And on Thursday, Al Ali watched warmups from the Capitals bench and participated in a ceremonial puck drop prior to the Capitals game versus the Detroit Red Wings.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 10, 2017
During the first intermission, Al Ali spoke to the media about participating in the ceremonial puck drop.
“I had goosebumps. I was really nervous and excited, and I was really hoping that I didn’t do anything stupid,” she laughed.
Al Ali also had a message for young female hockey players in the UAE.
“Just go for it,” she urged. “Follow your dream and go for it. You can be anything you want to be.”
Al Ali’s visit emphasizes the Washington Capitals exemplary commitment to Hockey is for Everyone Month (HIFE). HIFE has been celebrated every February for the past 19 years, and is the official youth development program of the National Hockey League (NHL). It is 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.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment, through its partnership with Etihad Airways, is committed to bringing American sports clinics to the United Arab Emirates. Etihad Airways is the exclusive airline partner of the Washington Capitals (NHL), Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Mystics (WNBA) and Verizon Center.
Fatima Al Ali’s visit with the Caps celebrates the notion that greatness can be found when and where you least expect it, and that hockey truly is for everyone!
— Wes Johnson (@WesJohnsonVoice) February 10, 2017