Hockey Community Steps Up

We are hearing more and more stories about the way the national and local hockey communities are stepping up in this era of crisis. Players are posting encouraging messages. Team owners are paying arena personnel. Companies are shifting priorities.

What personal stories about hockey family can you share with us!!

Monumental Sports and Entertainment (owners of the Washington Capitals) has extended payment to Capital One Arena part-time workers who were scheduled to work postponed games and events through April 2020. This will include all Capitals, Wizards, and concerts set for April and they will also be paid when, and if, those events occur later in the summer. Not all teams have been as generous as Ted Leonsis and we appreciate that he is stepping up to take care of those friends we see at every game. You know the ones who stop people from walking down in the middle of a play or that remove unruly visiting fans.

Fanatics, the producers of most of the Capitals and NHL merchandise that we spend $100s to $1,000 on has shifted their MLB production line priorities. They announced this week that they will be using the polyester mesh fabric from MLB jerseys to make masks and gowns for hospitals. Fanatics owner, Michael Rubin, said: “We’re fortunate to have this giant factory in Pennsylvania that makes all these baseball jerseys, and to have the commissioner of baseball behind us, and to have the governor and attorney general saying, ‘How do we make a difference?’ Time will tell if that will include suspension of NHL merchandise too.

Bauer Hockey is also making changes to provide medical face shields to those working on the front lines fighting this virus:

Fort DuPont Ice Arena is still helping local families. They are an organization supported by the Washington Capitals and the Caps Fan Club. They do good things and if you are looking for a place to make a donation, we would suggest you consider them:

The Capitals shared a bit of inspiration from their captain, Alex Ovechkin. Players, their wives, and kids are keeping us entertained with Instagram stories. Be sure to check them out.

Alex participated in a rather hilarious interview and in the end he said what really matters for all of us:

Nick Backstrom shared some sweet moments at home:

Tom Wilson brought new pup Halle to his video message:

Be sure to follow Caps Pup on Twitter and Instagram. What can be better than this cute guy??

You may be familiar with Homeward Trails as sponsors of the Caps calendar each year. They are still helping pups and could use your help too:

We have long loved the work of Ellie’s Hats who provide a bit of joy for kids in the midst of medical treatments. Please consider helping them to help vulnerable children in our community.

Our friends at Compass Coffee have fallen on tough times during the crisis and had to let go of a number of employees. And yet they continue to help the community as part of the effort in DC to provide hand sanitizers. Visit them in Ballston while they remain open for grab and go.

The stories will keep coming. The outreach from those who can help will hopefully also continue. We would love to share your “feel good” story too. And as we said in our article yesterday- let’s pull together as the Caps and hockey community to carry each other through. We can do this!!

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!!!

Washington Caps Lifting Spirts at MedStar Georgetown & Ellie’s Hats Helps Out

That’s our Captain, putting a big smile on Ryan’s face and making his wish come true!!
Following practice on Monday morning the Washington Capitals players and a few of the staff boarded a bus for Medstar Georgetown University Hospital to brighten the day for some special children  and families. This year Ellie’s Hats was one of the charity groups invited to join the Caps for this annual tradition that brings big smiles to children who might otherwise have the brightest of holidays.

Orlov and Eller with their own crazy hats!!
Ellie’s Hats provided hats for the players to give out to the children, including some Caps hats donated by Leidos as part of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer Campaign. In addition, Ellie’s Hats brought some fun character hats for the children too.
As Jay Coakley, founder of Ellie’s Hats, found today, this visit has far-reaching impact on the lives of the children, the MedStar staff, and the players themselves. One young man had returned to the unit because this day means so much to him. His wish for today was to meet Alex Ovechkin and in that moment his troubles were lifted and his smile told the sheer joy he was experiencing. One young girl came to get a Capitals hat to send to her grandfather–thinking of someone other than herself in that moment.
And lets not forget the players themselves. Most of these men are fathers of young children themselves. Many of them are actively involved in organizations that provide assistance to children. But as fathers this visit weighed heavily on their hearts as well. There is little doubt that they will be holding their little ones closer tonight.
That said, the players thoroughly enjoyed visiting the children and the children were excited to have them visiting too! They stopped by the ICU to see some courageous children who are fighting for their lives and they sat at tiny tables and made arts and crafts with those patients who were able to join them.
Of all things the Washington Capitals organization do in our community, there is nothing more special then this tradition. Ellie’s Hats felt honored to be a part of this amazing outpouring of love from this group of men. Today, Jay heard some heartbreaking stories from the families as they struggle emotionally and financially in the battle for their children.


Please consider donating to Ellie’s Hats here. They do so much more than give out hats and your donation could make a huge difference in the lives of these families.

Check out the Washington Capitals for more great shots of the boys and Slapshot!

Washington Capitals and Ellie’s Hats Partnering for Children at MedStar Georgetown

This week Jay Coakley, founder of Ellie’s Hats, presented Medstar Georgetown University Hospital with $2,000 worth of Visa Gift Cards which the staff will distribute to families in need. This generous donation was possible because of gift from the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer campaign. Many Caps fans contributed to this campaign through the Caps’ fund raising activities in November.

This coming Monday, December 19th, Ellie’s Hats and Caps’ players will distribute hats and other surprises to children receiving care at MedStar Hospital. These hats were donated by Caps fans during the Hockey Fights Cancer campaign at Verizon Center. The Holiday Party for pediatric patients (including children fighting cancer) is part of the Capitals and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation annual outreach to children during the holidays. Jay will be there with the players as they visit with the children and he will be sharing more about the whole experience (and photos) with us later in the day.

Slapshot, Some Crazy Hats, and Smiling Children


We can’t think of anything better than a visit by the Washington Capital’s Slapshot to bring laughter and smiles to children suffering from cancer, other than some fun hats from Ellie’s Hats. That was the perfect mix on Monday when the two partnered together to bring a special holiday blessing at Pediatric Specialists of Virginia. Jay Coakley, president of Ellie’s Hats, invited Slapshot to join him to visit the clinic and entertain the children, their parents, and the wonderful giving staff. You know Slapshot–he HAD to be there!!

Slapshot met with about 15 children, taking pictures and high fiving as Jay passed out hats for the children. Why hats you ask? Many children who go through the grueling chemotherapy treatment loose their hair and their spirits may dwindle too. Founder Jay Coakley discovered that when a child puts on a fun hat, (even Caps hats)  it is the ultimate way of lifting the spirits of a child and letting their personality shine through in the hats they select.

What’s next for Ellie’s Hats?

  • They will be bringing dinner from Jimmy John’s to patients and families on the oncology unit at Inova Children’s Hospital on December 14.
  • They will attend the Holiday Party at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital and donate $2,000 worth of Visa Gift Cards to the families on 15 December.
  • They will be going to Medstar Georgetown University with the Capitals to visit the children and pass out more hats on 19 December.

watermarked82016-12-12-2044FiCP is partnering with Ellie’s Hat to encourage you to help this wonderful and wide-reaching cause. We would love nothing better than to see the hockey community flood Jay with hats, other gifts, and donations for the children. Click here to find out how you too can help.  And keep checking with us to hear more about our partnership with the Washington Capitals Fan Club and future hat drives!

Pediatric Specialist provide specialized care for children who suffer with a variety of health issues, including cancer. Click here to donate to help them.

Supporting Ellie’s Hats

We are excited to announce an addition to our Community Support Page Ellie’s Hats.  

Some of you may know about Ellie’s Hats from the Caps’ wives and girlfriends. We had a chance to meet founder Jay Coakley during Hockey Fights Cancer and we would like to encourage you to support this wonderful movement. Ellie’s Hats is a nonprofit organization that donates hats to children battling cancer, supports their families and raises awareness of childhood cancer. 

Ellie’s Hats was started after Ellie’s PE teacher, Jay decided to get her some hats for Christmas which led him to start Ellie’s Hats in 2014 they have sent hats to 100’s of children across the country. Click here to read more and to provide hats or funding

Caps, Kids, and Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night In Photos

The Washington Capitals organization and fans turned the Verizon Center from red to lavender Saturday night. In the days leading up to the game, the players and their families pulled together to offer support and friendship to the children and families who are or have struggled with cancer.

We understand that it didn’t end with the game as the kids were all invited back to the locker room post game, at the request of the players. Continue reading “Caps, Kids, and Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night In Photos”