The 2019 Armed Forces Hockey Classic

Don’t have much going on over Memorial Weekend? Feel like watching hockey being played for a good cause for FREE?

“The Armed Forces Hockey Classic (AFHC) is a tournament where military veterans the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy come together to compete against one another while raising money for the United Heroes League (UHL). The UHL wants to ensure that all 5 million military kids are able to develop critical life skills through sports. This intense focus on youth development and serving the families of our military service members motivates the UHL to keep programs focused. This focus has inspired 115 professional athletes and over 30 professional sports franchises to lend their name and support to the UHL.”

The Washington Capitals have supported the UHL since their start in 2009 along with many other franchises, like the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Kings. Players/coaches who have contributed to this cause have been Nicklas Backstrom, Karl Alzner, Bruce Boudreau, Taylor Chorney, Matt Hendricks, Nate Schmidt, and many others!

This event is being held just outside of Dallas, Texas in North Richland Hills. Veterans, local and country-wide, are gathering there to play the greatest sport for an excellent cause. Coordinators have stated that they have received donations and incoming participants from places like Alaska, Colorado and even the DMV! The winning team of the tournament will get to hoist the James “Maggie” Megellas Championship Trophy. Who knows, you may see someone you’ll recognize!

2010 AFHC Champions – Team Navy/Marine Corp.

The tournament will begin May 25 @ 10:00 am EDT, first puck drop @ 10:15 am. All games will be live-streamed via Facebook here. For more information on the AFHC and the UHL, click here. Have a wonderful weekend!

Devante Smith-Pelly and John Carlson Invite Youth Hockey Team to Caps Game for Sticking It to Racism

When Washington Capitals right-winger Devante Smith-Pelly headed to the penalty box at United Center he was greeted by an unwelcoming surprise from a couple of Chicago Blackhawks fans. Typically a player in the sin bin would expect the occasional boo or fun-playful heckle but this particular group crossed the line in the most despicable way imaginable. Smith-Pelly was subjected to racial taunts including the chants of “basketball, basketball, basketball.” The Blackhawks and the NHL sent a message by banning the fans for life but unfortunately this is a problem for many athletes that still hasn’t been resolved today. To make matters worse, it’s not just the pros who have to deal with it.  Continue reading “Devante Smith-Pelly and John Carlson Invite Youth Hockey Team to Caps Game for Sticking It to Racism”

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.


Hockey: Family and Community

An inspirational story by one of you FiCP contributors and photographers. Mel shares how being a part of the hockey community is about more than just watching games. Thanks for writing this Mel. We are glad you have joined usl!!

I remember going to caps games when the caps weren’t really that good of a team, but it was time I got to spend with my dad..and that’s all that mattered to me.

My dad passed away this past July from a stroke. He was only 73 years old, even in the hospital towards his last days, I would talk to him about the Stanley cup playoffs.. Was it going to be Chicago or Tampa Bay?

My dad shared his passion for sports with me and I grew up knowing more about DC area sports than any kid in my school. At current events contests in 8th grade; I used to answer every sports question with no problem and my friends were like how do you know this stuff?!  I would say, my dad taught me and quizzes me about it daily!

mel Caps Center Warmups
Warm ups at Caps Center
As I grew older, and got my own car I would go to caps games on my own with my friends. I showed them how fast and exciting hockey was. And my quest to capture that excitement in photos led me to start my own business selling pictures at Baltimore skipjack games  (Caps AHL team at the time)


It was great until I got sidetracked by love. I even got my ex-husband to start taking photos. But his love for drugs and selling my cameras for his addiction turned my love into anger and I chose to take another path.

I now found myself so busy trying to get my captains license for my new job, that I had no time to get to games and had missed hockey so much. My dad and I went to the last game of the season in 2009. It was like old times. Dad shouting profanity at the refs and me getting that quality time with my dad!

I started taking pictures again at games and going to Kettler to watch practice like I used to at Mt Vernon with my high school buddies. Since my dad has passed; I look for him in the Verizon center. I know he’s there with me-as soon as someone yells profanity I’m positive that’s him there with me.  I just recently lost my mom in January; she was so supportive of everything I did. So not only is my dad with me; now I look for my mom at games too. She’s the one not yelling profanity and helping me find great fans like Maggie and her daughter Brittney!

I am so happy to be a part of such a positive and supportive team Just like Washington Capitals hockey team, these ladies are in it for the win and make sure everyone is on the same page to be successful.

The cover picture is from a caps alumni game at Laurel Garden Ice House, the right picture is from a Navy hockey game, and bottom left from fan appreciation day at cap center .. My dad showing off!

Mel Abernethy