By Leslie Silvey –
By now all the kids are back in school after a very long and very hot summer. But the youngsters won’t be the only ones filing through the hall of the many schools throughout the District, Maryland and Virginia. And for thousands of lucky students, Physical Education may just be a little more fun this year. The Washington Capitals kick off their fourth year of Caps at School on Tuesday, September 7, as forwards David Steckel and Tomas Fleischmann will join Slapshot at Avalon Elementary School in Temple Hills, Md.
Flash and Steckel will participate in a question-and-answer session with the students and lead a skills demonstration, showing the students their sick stick skills. They’ll guide the students through several drills focusing on stick handling, passing and shooting. Some of the students will get a chance to show off what they’ve learned as the players will call on eager volunteers in the audience to demonstrate. The clinic will conclude with several students participating in a brief scrimmage along with Fleischmann on one team and Steckel on the other. Following the clinic a set of street hockey equipment will be donated by the Capitals to the school.
Caps at School, presented by Capital One Bank, is free program that teaches D.C. area kids some of the finer points of this great game we all know and love and hopefully incites a love of the game that will have them rocking the red for years to come. Last season, the team conducted more than 30 clinics and instructed more than 5,000 area students in the ABC’s of ice hockey. At the end of each Caps at School session during the 2009-10 season, students received autographed players’ cards as "diplomas" signifying that they’d mastered the skills and knowledge required to "graduate" from Hockey School.
This season Capitals coaches, players, alumni, and of course everybody’s favorite teacher Slapshot, will conduct Hockey School from September to May for groups of fifth to eighth graders. Instead of those boring old gold stars, Caps at School participants will leave this special learning experience with an autographed player card signed by a Caps player, a hockey 101 booklet that outlines the rules of street hockey and ice hockey, a Hockey School squishy puck. They’ll also have a chance to show off what they’ve learned on real ice as participants will also get a coupon for a free open skate session at a local participating rink and a coupon for a free learn to skate or learn to play introductory class at a local rink. Caps at School may just develop some future stars who may not otherwise be exposed to the game. Safe to say, the program is sure to inspire a whole new generation of hockey fans. All of you Caps fans who teach fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth grades can sign up for a chance to have 100-150 of your pupils attend Caps Hockey School.