Washington Capitals and Fans: A Giving Community

Every year we the fans become part of the Washington Capitals giving community. We participate in raffles, auctions, and donation opportunities. The Capitals help make us aware of some of the great outreach organizations in our area. Many of the players extend their personal giving of time beyond the Capitals events, especially during the off season.

This past season, Monumental Sports sponsored several events at Verizon Center during game time. They raised a good bit of money (over $900,000) for the charities they support. Here are some highlights of those efforts and some special activities that the players are personally involved in during their own time.

The Caps and Inova host a blood drive about four times a year at Kettler Ice Plex. This summer participants received a Burakovsky bobblehead and had the joy of sharing the gift of life. Check here for the next date and to sign up to give. (The next donor date has not be set yet)

One of the strongest connections the MSE Foundation has in the area is with Fort DuPont Ice Arena. The Caps announced this summer that they have provided a “$20,000 grant for the second consecutive season in 2016-17 to continue to give children an opportunity to learn through sports” through the Up2Us Sports program. In June, MSE announced a donation of $12,000 to the hockey club to support youngsters who are interested in hockey. They also hosted the annual summer cleanup, donating another $5,000. The Caps frequently skate at Fort DuPont and this year hosted the youth and family at Kettler for a skate with Alex Ovechkin. You too can volunteer there to ensure hockey is really for everyone. Click here to become a friend of FDIA.

The Caps have a special affinity for the military, especially families of fallen soldiers. As part of the Salute to our Military, fans helped raise $56,000 through the auction of Caps memorabilia. Some of the players joined families of an evening of skating and story-sharing as part of TAPS. watermarked92016-12-22-2059

Hockey Fights Cancer often links with Make a Wish to raise funds to fight cancer and to support young people by making their wish to meet and skate with Caps players come true. This umbrella program brings together some of the local organizations that are there for families. MSE announced: “$63,955 for Flashes of Hope, Hope for Henry, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Leidos donated an additional $40,000 – $10,000 to each organization. Combined with proceeds from the evening’s 50/50 raffle, warm-up puck sales, Ellie’s Hats donations and the sale of Hockey Fights Cancer pins, nearly $140,000 was raised for the charities.”

We got to know Jay Coakley with Ellie’s Hats this year. This once one-man show has grown, in large part because of the exposure the Caps and Taylor Winnik gave them. This is a year-round group that now provides more then just hats for sick children but gift cards, backpacks, and other financial support all year.  Please consider helping Jay bring smiles to the little ones in our community by donating here.

karl signing ball
The Washington Capitals Fan Club is more than just a group of fans who meet up before games. They too are a generous giving organization. Every year they sell and auction off Christmas balls signed by the players. This past year they raised $10,000 for the Fort DuPont Kids. We’ll share more about their outreach and events soon.

T.J. Oshie has a personal connection to the struggles of family’s who struggle with the far reaching effect of Alzheimer’s. He revealed that his father Coach Oshie is in the early stages of the disease. This summer TJ asked fans to help support the search for a cure by donating to the Alzheimer’s Association Longest Day campaign. You can still give $77, or more, through the link.

Players have a way of giving back to the community by sharing their skills and time with others, usually in their hometowns. Many players find a way to give and to keep it under the radar for the most part. Just because we don’t hear about doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

Every year, now former Cap, Justin Williams hosts JW Hockey Camp in his hometown of Cobourg, Ontario.  All proceeds go to his charity, the Justin Williams Foundation.

Tom Wilson returned to his roots in May to support his former elementary school in Toronto. During a Fun Fair, he signed autographs and

Tom’s former roommate, Michael Latta, takes time out every offseason to work with youth on their skating skills. He is a great coach, encouraging the special needs kids at camp Kid’s Abilty to go the extra distance.

Coach Trotz is an avid supporter of Best Buddies. Last October the Capitals wives and girlfriends put together a team, with the Trotz Strolling with Nolan Team, walked to raise awareness during the Best Buddies Friendship Walk on the Mall. Sign up here to walk this year on 21 October.  watermarked32016-10-16-1932

Speaking of wives and girlfriends, they have always been champions for fund raising and bringing awareness to special interests. In addition to supporting Best Buddies, they (especially Taylor Winnik) supported events with baskets to raffle, highlighting Ellie’s Hats, and of course the annual calendar that Taylor shot for Homeward Trails. Sales garnered $67,000 for the pups in need. We really will miss Dan and Taylor and the impact they made on our community.

We learned this summer that Evgeny Kuznetsov was part of a group of Russian skaters who donated donated “new uniforms to a sled-hockey team [in Chelyabinsk,” according to CSN. He, like Ovechkin, supports an orphanage in Russia. He hopes to one day open a hockey school there too.

Dmitry Orlov frequently spends the offseason supporting local charities in Russia. This year we have seen him throwing his support behind a local hockey training center.

We’re sure there is much more going on that with the players and coaches that we don’t always know about. Many prefer to do what they do quietly and privately. At the end of the day we know that hockey players have a reputation for giving and so do their fans. We encourage you to keep the giving and community outreach going over the summer and to stash a little away to supoort MSE, the Fan Club, and other great organizations during the season.

Keep Rocking the Red friends!!!

NOVA Cool Cats: US Marshall’s vs Arlington County Fire Company Fundraiser!

Most of you know about the NOVA Cool Cats because of the great support the Washington Capitals have provided for this group, especially that from Alex Ovechkin. April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day and at Kettler Ice Plex the US Marshall’s and the Arlington County Fire Company ice hockey teams skated with the Cats and put on a great game to raise awareness and funds in support of this team.

We love events like this. Organizations like the NOVA Cool Cats  (and another of our favorites, The Montgomery Cheetahs) provide a place for some very special people to participate in hockey. However, groups like these can’t do it on their own–they need the greater hockey community to support them with their time and with their dollars!! Sunday was a perfect day for doing both.

We loved being part of the crowd today. Here are some shots that Wendy Hockey and I took to give you just a taste of how wonderful events like this are for our community.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Cool Cats got to meet both teams and skate with them for warm ups before the scrimmage began. Final score for the match was 5-2 in favor of the Arlington County Fire Department–but both teams were winners in our book!

Funds raised today will help the NOVA Cool Cats to Special Hockey team so they can compete in the  special hockey tournaments.. If you would like to support them or the Cheetahs, please click on the links above to donate directly. And like their pages on Facebook so you can come to events in the future.


Caps Players Getting in Some Family Time

One of the hardest things about being a hockey player (or any professional athlete) is the time one has to spend away from family. The few weeks between the end of the season and the start of training camp we see players cram in as much time together as they can.

Our Washington Capitals are no different! Here’s a look at how some have spent time with family and friends in the past few weeks. Check out our other Caps Vaca posts for more shots they have shared.

There is nothing more adorable than the T.J. Oshie family. With little Lyla they were already beyond cute but then you add in their new baby girl Leni Rose and they are off the adorable family chart!!

Meanwhile, Marcus Johansson and Evegny Kuznetsov are completely wrapped around the fingers of their beautiful girls Mila and Ecenia.

And some of the family time has been with the four-legged ones, especially for the Winnik’s and their pooches.

Alex Ovechkin and his future bride continue to share photos of their time with friends, which included some more charity work for Ovi with Russian basketball player, Vitaliy Fridzon.

But there is nothing that compares with the joining of two families together through marriage. Congratulations again to the newly formed Orlov family!


Hockey Wife Blogs for Young Wives and New Moms

Women in Hockey: Gina Carlson and Lucca’s Blessings

View this post on Instagram

My favorite pictures of Lucca are the ones like this…full of life, innocence, joy, happiness, contentment. Toddlers have no knowledge of the evil in this world. They don't know about politics, war, addiction, disease, anxiety, or depression. They wake up ready to take on the day, constantly reaching for the next thing. They have an immense amount of life in their tiny little bodies, (why us parents are constantly so exhausted😂). They never stop exploring, & discovering new things. Imagine if we all smiled & laughed just because a plane goes by.. Lucca sees pretty flowers & lights up, smiles ear to ear. I've been thinking about the struggle I've had since becoming a mom (well, my whole life) but more so since having Lucca. Sometimes it feels like anxiety just steals the life right out from under me. His little life is so precious & in my hands. It can be so overwhelming. Am I going to mess up? Am I doing everything right? If John takes him outside to water the plants in the front yard, I'm frantic thinking he's going to run into the street. It makes me a control freak, & sometimes a constant nagger to my husband 😕 I don't want Lucca to grow up & remember me as an anxious mom who was constantly holding him back from life. I want him to live the most fulfilled life, chasing his dreams & doing everything his heart desires (except jumping out of planes, etc. please don't😩). I got off track a bit but I woke up to two random donations to @stjude ..I love reading the message u all leave. I love that so many people- my neighbors, wives of my husbands teammates in the olympics who I've met one time in Sochi, CAPS FANS, moms I've made friends with on instagram, my family & friends, my in-laws friends I've never met, have all come together&left donations on my fundraising page. I receive emails from people I've never met that their office is picking a charity & they want to pick @stjude . Every parents worst nightmare is some parents reality. No parent should hold his child while he takes his last breath.see my stories today for some sales for @stjude thank u to every single person who has ever donated a cent, it's truly appreciated. 💛

A post shared by Gina Carlson (@gnacarlson) on


Do you love kids? Are you a mom? Have you recently had a baby? Curious about what it’s like to date/be married to a professional athlete? If you answered yes to any of these questions you should check of the blog of Gina Carlson (Lucca’s Blessings), mom to beautiful son Lucca and husband to Washington Capitals D-Man John Carlson.

Gina’s most recent blog post was something we thought would interest our readers. We have a lot of friends who are moms with kiddos ages three and under and have gone through some of the things Gina talks about on her blog including what it is like to be married to a hockey player, pregnancy and post-pregnancy, and the challenges of being a first-time mom.

Perhaps the most incredible thing about Gina is her passion for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Gina recently held an auction via her Instagram page  for a DC Sports basket which included signed jerseys from her hubby and Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, and tickets to a Caps game among other things! The basket went for a final bid of $2,250.00. This is just one example of the awesome fundraising efforts by Gina and will certainly not be the last.


If you would like to donate to help the kids at St. Judes Click here.

Thank you Gina for letting us share your story.


Written by Brittney Marcum