After D.C. Disrupts Fort Dupont Rink Plans, Cannons Practice With Caps Alumni

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Posted February 26, 2022

From left, Paul Mulvey, Alan May, Neal Henderson, Bill Riley, Karl Alzner, and Peter Bondra. (Caps Outsider)

For years, the Fort Dupont Ice Arena was prepping to get a second rink built, when just the other day, District of Columbia officials delivered the news that put those plans on hold. Told that the project would be far more expensive and take far longer to complete than anticipated, Fort Dupont’s board members said they lost confidence in the District’s plans and canceled the current rink’s demolition.

[From The Post: Fort Dupont Ice Rink supporters accuse District of mishandling plans for new arena]

This news came just as the Caps are set to honor Coach Neal Henderson – leader of the country’s oldest minority youth hockey program in the nation – during Monday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where the players will wear helmet decals featuring his likeness.

On Friday, Coach Henderson brought his players, aged between 7 and 14, to practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, where they were greeted by Caps alumni Bill Riley (the third Black player in NHL history), Karl Alzner, Peter Bondra, Alan May, Rod Langway, and Paul Mulvey.

“I’m interested in knowing what’s going to happen,” Coach Henderson said of the new rink. “But as long as the rink is open, that’s the happy part for the kids and myself at this time.”

The Capitals raised hundreds of thousands of dollars – including fund-matching by owner Ted Leonsis – for the new rink, but now the future of Fort Dupont is unclear.

In related news, there’s a documentary about Coach Henderson and the Cannons making the film festival rounds, but no word yet on distribution. Not to worry, though – the District won’t be handling distribution – so expect to see it in the near future.

“I’m kinda wishing to see it myself, to see how it is,” Coach Henderson said. “I saw some of it, when I was in New York. But I was always in a hurry and people wanting to talk and get more answers than what I could give them. So it’ll be a pleasure to see it.”

In 2019, Henderson became the first Black person to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. The Capitals last had the opportunity to run an event with the Cannons two years ago, right before Covid-19 struck, as Caps defensemen Nick Jensen and Jonas Siegenthaler visited their rink.

Help support Fort Dupont by purchasing their merchandise here, and enjoy the photos: