The Washington Capitals are hosting a women’s hockey tournament and a series of clinics at the Capitals’ practice facility in Ballston next month.
The four game showcase from the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), part of the association’s “Dream Gap Tour,” will take place from March 4-6 at the Medstar Capital Iceplex on N. Glebe Road. It will feature teams from Minnesota, Boston, Calgary, and Toronto. This is the sixth stop for the tour, but the first time in the D.C. area.
The intention of the tournament is to bring attention to the “dream gap” that exists for young girls who want to play hockey.
“Essentially, a boy can lace up his skates and dream of playing in the NHL one day whereas young girls don’t have a league that pays a livable wage where they can solely focus on hockey to dream about,” a PWHPA spokesperson tells ARLnow about why this is an important program. “There’s a dream gap that exists that we’d like to close for girls.”
This is also part of the Capitals’ ALL CAPS ALL HER initiative with the aim of providing access and support for female hockey players across the region. There are 5,332 registered youth hockey players in Virginia, according to statistics provided by the Capitals, with only about 12% of those players being female.
“The Capitals are committed to continuing to grow the game at all levels, which includes youth and female hockey. The D.C. region has seen phenomenal interest and growth in hockey participation over the last decade-plus, and we’re proud to play a part in that development through initiatives like the PWHPA’s Dream Gap Tour,” Peter Robinson, the Caps’ director of youth hockey development, wrote in a statement.
Hockey clinics will also be held at the Iceplex in Ballston for both youth and adult female players on March 3-5. The clinics will include work on and off the ice and will feature PWHPA athletes, coaches, and Caps youth hockey development staff. Participants will receive a complimentary weekend pass to the games.
The PWHPA features approximately 125 of the world’s best female hockey players and was specifically formed to create a women’s hockey league that pays a living wage to players while provideing elite-level resources like trainers, marketing, and facilities.
“We wanted to partner with the Capitals because of their involvement in the community & girls’ hockey,” a PWHPA spokesperson said. “Particularly, the launch [of] their ALL CAPS ALL HER initiative. It’s important for us to partner with organizations who want to grow the women’s game, which the Capitals definitely do.”
The 137,000-square-foot Medstar Capital Iceplex, which got a new name in 2018, opened 15 years ago. In addition to offering a venue for public skates and local hockey clubs, it serves as the Capitals’ practice facility and team headquarters.
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