WASHINGTON, DC, October 23, 2013 — When Washington Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt scored his first goal of the 2013 season, it wasn’t at Verizon Center. It wasn’t during regulation time, nor overtime. It wasn’t even on ice.
On October 18, Schmidt scored his first tally on the basketball courts of J.O. Wilson Elementary School. As the puck went through the legs of Caps mascot Slapshot and into the back of the goal, a crowd of DC students cheered. And while it was far from the noise at Verizon Center, it was meaningful in its own right.
Schmidt joined Caps alumnus Paul Mulvey and Slapshot at Playwork’s Washington DC, Hockey Extravaganza. The extravaganza, a collaboration between Playworks and Monumental Sports and Entertainment, gave students from five elementary schools across the District an introduction to hockey.
“It was great teaching the students about hockey,” said Schmidt. “There were a lot of great players today and they seemed to enjoy the sport. I hope they have fun with the equipment.”
The extravaganza was also a day to thank MSE Foundation, the umbrella organization for the Washington Capitals, Mystics, and Wizards, for providing $50,000 and street hockey equipment to Playworks for the 2013-2014 school year. Playworks Washington, DC provides physical activity programs and opportunities for safe, meaningful play to 15 schools in DC reaching 5,500 students each day.
“Our goal is that the students who participate in the extravaganzas or skills clinics like these are creating memories that last a lifetime, have experiences with sports they may not have known, and then share those experiences with the community,” Program Director Dwight Phyall said.
As part of the extravaganza, students learned from Schmidt and Mulvey the ways to shoot and pass, practiced drills and skills, and then played a modified version of the game. For many, this was their first time touching a hockey stick.
“Every kid that was there got to play against one another,” Phyall said. “Seeing that kind of organized chaos was really fun.”
For the next few weeks, students from Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School, Bruce Monroe Elementary School, Smothers Elementary School, West Education Campus, and J.O. Wilson Elementary School will continue to practice their newly learned skills for an upcoming hockey jamboree. While the date is yet to be determined, the hope is that Capitals alumni and players will be back.
With a couple more games under his belt, maybe Schmidt will be there too, a few more goals to his name.
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