The Washington Capitals hosted the 14th annual Salute to the Military and left your FiCP members feeling proud of where we live and the attention the Caps organization pays to our servicemen and women. Many fans were decked out in camo gear or wearing Caps Courage apparel in support of the members of the military who serve our nation.
The event began before the doors even opened with an on-line auction for camo jerseys, helmets, and other items that brought $46,125 for USO-Metro and Defending the Blue Line. Additionally, proceeds from the purchase of Courage Caps and t-shirts will help fund Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) activities in the future.
When the players took to the ice for warmups they were sporting the camo jerseys that were auctioned off during the game by Handbid, on behalf of the Caps organization. Before the night was over Braden Holtby’s jersey brought $1,450 and his helmet fetched the highest bid of the night at $5,350. Grubauer’s helmet came in next at $3,450 while Ovi’s jersery raised $1,900.
When the Caps re-entered the ice the Navy Youth Hockey created a flag tunnel for them. The Caps and Islanders lined up as the Military District of Washington’s U.S. Army Band Quartet, featuring M. Sgt. Caleb Green (Ret.), performed the national anthem. The US Army Honor Guard presented the flags. Most notable about the beginning of the game was a ceremonial puck drop by LCPL Josh Misiewicz, U.S. National Sled Hockey Team.
- According to USA Hockey, Misiewicz is a double above-knee amputee who was injured by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan. He served with 1st Battalion 5th Marines and has skated with the sled team since 2011. Thank you sir, for your sacrifice.
- USA WarriorsIce Hockey’s mission is to “organize and administer an ice hockey program that provides a recreational, therapeutic experience and education.”
Throughout the evening the Capitals paid tribute to service members, highlighting their careers and families. Each branch of the military was represented during the night. During the second intermission the USA Warriors hockey team (Adam Devine, Rob Easley, Ralph DeQuebec, Kevin Gatson, and Josh Misiewicz) presented a skills exhibition to give fans an idea of how they play the game and how hockey can be such a positive element of the healing process. TAPS also presented a video that documented the long-standing relationship they have with the Caps and profiled the importance this organization has in the lives of families. We were excited to see old friends Courtney and Brooke Nyren who not only were helped by TAPS, but many years later are still active in the organization—giving their time to help other families heal.
Joining the 500 and more servicemen, servicewomen, and their families, was General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. Milley played hockey as a young boy and eventually was part of the Princeton Tigers from 1977 to 1979. In his interview with Jill Sorenson he said he appreciates the expression of thanks, especially from the greater American public. He joked that he had planned to be drafted into the NHL but ended up drafted in the military instead.Although he is a Bruins fan, he likes the Capitals—his son is an even bigger fan. Thank you General Milley for being a part of this special night.
The night ended with a hard-fought win by the Caps over the Islanders. It was a pleasure to be part of the audience that honored some many brave men and women. It doesn’t need to end there though—remember we can still support these great organizations and we can still personally thank the men and women in uniform. Click the links above to find out more about these fine organizations.
Photos by Mel Abernethy and Brittney Marcum