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Hiatus?

June 19, 2010

First of all, THANK YOU for reading this! We’re on a brief hiatus–not for long, but we’re going to re-launch with all new content from our corps of awesome Hockey Girls. We’ve got some great content coming your way…stay tuned.

-The Hockey Girls

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Hockey Kate: Puck Talk Heard ‘Round the DMV

May 14, 2010

So if you’re not a regular listener to Overtime on 106.7 The Fan, now might be the time to start. Tonight they introduced a pretty kick ass new segment: Hockey Kate. This little lady blew everyone out of their seats the first time she called into the show, so much so they decided to give her a call in segment. Tonight was the first edition and it was pretty solid. This chick definitely knows her puck. She got jobbed a bit at the beginning but took it like a champ, then proceeded to again, talk the guys under the table.

When asked about players she thinks will be household names within the next few years she said:

“I love Mathieu Perreault. That kid is incredible. Saw him up here [in Washington] a lot from Hershey. He’ll jump on a puck, always going after it. Speedy, smart, knows when to make a play, so I think we’re gonna see a lot more of him.”

I think it’s awesome that they gave a woman a segment on a predominantly male show. And even more so that she knows what she’s talking about. This is huge for the female hockey fan base. Hopefully it will encourage more women to call into this show and other shows to talk puck.

In case you missed it, I highly recommend checking out the podcast. Don’t forget to tune in next week when she’ll have an update on how the Hershey Bears did this weekend.

Kate, just ignore the boys’ jobs about peep shows; because this is one peep show I’d put in extra quarters for.

Caps defenseman making an impact on the blueline and in the community

April 28, 2010

We could probably spend the next 10 years or so debating Mike Green as a Norris Finalist. We could talk endlessly about his play— his offensive output and what is deemed a lack of defense. We can jump on the bandwagon of folks who critique him at every turn, praising him one minute, while begging for a trade after a disappointing game by the 24-year-old defenseman.

What we can’t debate however, are the contributions that Mike has made to the D.C. community off the ice.

A finalist for the NHL Foundation Player Award, Mike shows a special commitment to the community that I believe is often overlooked in lieu of the ‘flashier’ aspects of the young defenseman’s life. Yes, he drives a Lamborghini, yes, he lives in a penthouse and was on MTV Cribs, but what are forgotten are the more important things.

Given to the player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the live of people in his community, the NHL Foundation Player Award nominees for the 2009-10 season are Green, Dustin Brown from the Los Angeles Kings and Ryan Miller from the Buffalo Sabres. The NHL Foundation will present $25,000 to the chosen charitable organization of this year’s recipient at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas this June.

Green co-founded So Kids Can, a fundraising initiative that benefits a different youth-focused non-profit organization with Elliot in the Morning’s Elliot Segal last year. Mike donates $100 for every goal he scores and $50 for each assist during the regular season with the figures doubled during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, to the year’s selected charity initiative. Last year, during the program’s inaugural season, So Kids Can raised nearly $30,000 for Pediatric Prosthetics, Inc., an organization that helps families throughout the U.S. that have children who have lost a limb or have a congenital limb deficiency.

This year’s So Kids Can selected non-profit, the Children’s National Medical Center will receive donations that will benefit some of the more than 370,000 children who visit the hospital and its outpatient centers during the year. With money going toward computers, video game consoles and toys for patients, Mike and Elliot are providing the children at CNMC with the opportunity to play and just be kids during their stay. So Kids Can received $45,000 from Papa John’s before the season started; the D.C. community is embracing Green’s initiative as well.

Great to see Mike Green recognized today by the NHL for his charitable work. Few know how humble and kind-hearted he is. Via @nateewell

Mike’s charitable works are not limited to So Kids Can however. The Capitals website provides a deeper look into Mike’s charitable giving:

“Green has been a participant in Miracle on Seventh Street, hosted by the Rock Bottom Foundation, since 2006. He wasn’t content simply donating his time on Christmas and Thanksgiving Day, so in 2007 he decided to also work with the Children’s Law Center’s Adopt a Family Christmas Drive to adopt a Washington, D.C., family and to provide them with gifts during the holidays.

In 2008 and 2009, Green partnered with Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities Family EMPOWERment Center, allowing him to deliver gifts to his adopted family in person and to spend part of the day with them. His actions led to the Capitals organization adopting 25 families in 2009 through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program.

Green serves as a sports ambassador for The Children’s Inn at the National Institute of Health to help raise funds and awareness for the organization, which serves as a home for families with children who are seriously ill.

Through his Green’s Gang initiative, he donates seven tickets to every Capitals home game to soldiers and their families or to children who would otherwise be unable to attend.” Green purchases seven Capitals season tickets and donates them to Most Valuable Kids (MVK). MVK then distributes these tickets to either soldiers and their families, or to boys and girls, 18 and under, through numerous nonprofit organizations that focus on children in low-income and underserved households.

I am incredibly humbled reading the list of Mike’s charitable contributions. The Caps D-man isn’t just giving money; he’s reaching out to the community and encouraging others to do the same. The young man who came from “humble beginnings” in Calgary, Alberta has made his impact on the NHL and will continue to make an impact on the D.C. community through his play at the blue line and with multiple non-profits around the area.

Congratulations on your Norris nod and your nomination for the NHL Player Foundation Award Mike, keep up the great work, we couldn’t be more proud.

To find out who you can become more involved visit the Community page on the Washington Capitals website or email Elizabeth Wodatch, Community Relations Director, at ewodatch@washcaps.com for more information.

Not Your Average Roadtrip

April 13, 2010

54 hockey rinks. 54 hours. 1,370 miles. And apparently, a GPS that couldn’t navigate the Garden State.

Jon and Andrew Schwartz embarked on a journey across New Jersey in late January during Hockey Weekend Across America with players from each of USA Hockey’s four disabled disciplines in mini vans to raise awareness about and ask the 54 ice rinks in the Garden State to allocate ice time to disabled and special hockey.

I had a chance to speak with Jon at the USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival in Laurel, Maryland this weekend, after his team, the New Jersey Daredevils, had received their medals for participating in the tournament. Jon, an eight year special hockey coach, and Andrew, a nine year sledge hockey coach, are the driving force behind EveryBODY Skates New Jersey (ESNJ).

EveryBODY Skates New Jersey

ESNJ, organized by the American Special Hockey Association, is the initiative to encourage New Jersey rink owners and management, as well as municipal and county governments, to set aside one hour of ice time per week during hockey season for disabled hockey.

The brothers founded EveryBODY Skates New Jersey and trekked the 54-in-54 across the Garden State because, as Jon told me, they needed to “do something about this epidemic, this mass shortage of ice time and minimal awareness about disabled hockey.”

“We were bringing a message to the rinks, asking them to allocate–not donate, allocate one hour of ice time per week for disabled hockey.”
-Jon Schwartz

The idea of disabled or special hockey is often limited to sled hockey, ignoring the multiple other disciplines and athletes. The EveryBODY Skates New Jersey campaign gave Jon and Andrew a platform to speak about different disabilities and the various disciplines of disabled and special hockey and the opportunity to involve some of New Jersey’s twelve disabled programs along the way.

They traveled around New Jersey with athletes from sled, deaf/hard of hearing, standing amputee and special hockey programs, learning the intricacies of the zamboni, playing pick-up games with local disabled athletes, and giving an impromptu pep talk to the Rutgers team as they prepared to face off against Binghampton. The athletes and their ‘coaches’ were honored on ice at the Wachovia Center before a Flyers game, and ended their 54 hour journey at The Rock, as the Devils took on the Los Angeles Kings.

Beyond advocating for ice time, the brothers were able to share the power of hockey as a therapy for people with developmental and physical disabilities.

“We believe that hockey is the ultimate occupational therapy for people with disabilities, both physical and developmental,” said Schwartz. Disabled and special hockey programs provide stimulation, physical activity and therapy for their participants of all ages. For the nation leading 1 in 94 children in New Jersey diagnosed with autism, this can be a useful therapy tool–the same can be said for disabled soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mark Miller, Communications Director for the Disabled Hockey Festival, whose 6-year-old daughter is autistic, later elaborated that “after a kid plays in a game or has a practice, they’re more even the rest of the day…just being on the ice is very therapeutic.”

A New Jersey Daredevils player during his game with the Baltimore Saints

Ice time in New Jersey’s 54 rinks is at a premium because preference is typically given to house, travel league and high school programs. While disabled hockey programs often have an easier time raising funds, it is the lack of ice time during hockey season that proves to be the challenge. Convincing rink owners that the time is not donated, but that the programs will pay their own way as long as there is allocated time is where the challenge lies, and what the Schwartz brothers were advocating with EveryBODY Skates New Jersey. What the programs need isn’t fiscal support, but support from the communities and community leaders to make the opportunities more available.

In a state where the disabled population represents approximately 16% of the state’s total population, ESNJ is advocating for the ice time and opportunity for a population that has largely been left under-served.

Speaking for a moment about his team, the New Jersey Daredevils, Schwartz used the words incredible and awe-inspiring. The same can be said for what he and Andrew were doing leading the athletes across the state on their barnstormer of a road trip in blizzard conditions. Without advocates and a voice, the incredible and awe-inspiring stories of these athletes wouldn’t be possible.

More information on EveryBODY Skates New Jersey, can be found at their website, www.everybodyskates.com. There is a petition calling upon ice rinks in New Jersey to make one (1) hour of ice time per week available for Disabled Hockey during hockey season which I have signed, and I encourage you to do the same. A photo gallery from the 3 day, 54 hour journey can be found here.

Photos of this weekend’s festivities at the USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival can also be found at Caps in Pictures.

Scarlet Caps Contest ‘Winner’?

April 8, 2010

It may have been that you were born with your team’s colors throbbing in your veins, or you followed a player to the team, or that you found the team at the right moment and they swept you right off your proverbial feet. Whatever the case may be, you have a story to tell, and as evidenced by your thoughts on twitter and in the entries’ comments, your voice, or rather, the voice of the female Caps nation, wasn’t well represented by the entry chosen as the winner of the ‘Jerseys Off Our Back Contest’ by Scarlet Caps.

If you haven’t yet seen it, the winning entry to their contest ‘How did you become a Caps fan?’ was posted this morning, much to the chagrin of many female Caps fans who had submitted their own tales of their foray into the Caps fandom. Scarlet Caps is the ‘official Web site dedicated to the Caps’ female fanbase’- if you feel differently, or feel that it doesn’t represent you, let them know. The Capitals organization is known for being responsive to its fans; just ask the PR guys on twitter.

The Hockey Girls want to share your stories. We’ll keep a nice long, ever-growing list and post it HERE . If you didn’t finish your entry in time for the contest, finish it now and send it to us. We’ll post them all. And yes, we’ll post stories from other teams’ fans as well. We love people who love puck.

So, how did you become a Caps fan? Or, how did you become a fan of your team? We want to hear from the ladies, as this was first a contest ‘for them’, but gentlemen, send us your entries too! We’re all for equal opportunity here. All fans have stories to tell, and we want to hear them.

-The Hockey Girls