Nearly 50 youth hockey players with disabilities took to the ice in Ballston this week to sharpen their skills with Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.
On Wednesday, members of the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) convened at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex to spend several hours learning various skating techniques and skills from Ovechkin and other Capitals players, including Aliaksei Protas, Matthew Phillips and Alexander Alexeyev.
Ovi has been hosting this Caps-sponsored clinic for ASHA — which supports individuals with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities through hockey — for a decade, though it took a hiatus during the pandemic.
“Ovechkin has been an ASHA ambassador since the first skate in 2014 and most recently made a donation to the ASHA to help cover ice costs for 136 special hockey teams across the United States,” per a Capitals press release. “The donation supported more than 5,260 athletes and nearly 400 coaches.”
"It's very important for the community. We've been so close to each other for 10 years … kids happy, parents happy, so we're happy as well."@ovi8 chats with @tarynbray on 'The #Gr8 Skate' with @specialhockey today at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/Dx4YHEim9Z
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 10, 2024
ASHA Executive Director Jennifer O’Brien told ARLnow that while the donation was vital for the organization, Ovechkin’s personal commitment — in terms of time, money and energy — is especially significant.
“The big thing people should know is that sometimes people donate things and they kind of do it through the organization or whatever,” O’Brien said. “He does this personally. And so we take it personally and appreciate him for that reason.”
Established in 2007, ASHA currently serves over 8,000 members, representing 136 special hockey teams nationally. There are three ASHA teams in the D.C. area, per the release.
Most ASHA members who attended the clinic came from either the D.C. region or other East Coast locales, said O’Brien.
In addition to his work with ASHA, Ovechkin established “Ovi’s 8’s” in 2006, a program dedicated to providing tickets to Capitals games for underprivileged children.
“Since then, more than 5,700 individuals have had a chance to see a game free of charge, including many ASHA participants,” the team said.
Take a tour of the Courthouse neighborhood and explore two local favorites of Sallie Seiy, your guide in the latest Neighborhood Spotlight.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
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🎉 Tonight, we invite you to the French Riviera, one of the most exciting places on earth – without ever boarding a plane! And celebrate Mardi Gras and the Carnival of Nice on French soil as we welcome you to a special evening at the Embassy of France!
From the elegance of classical French culture to the most celebrated Rivera nightlife of the 21st Century, experience a special evening of fantastic French food, wine, music, and ambiance.
Enjoy the flavors of Nice, Monaco, and St. Tropez in the beautiful and festive Maison Francaise at the French Embassy.
🍽️ On the Menu: Delicious French food
Cody Chance and Dick Nathan of Long & Foster are hosting a free workshop on the topic of “down-sizing” at their office on Cherry Hill Rd. (formerly Lee Highway) in Arlington on Thursday, February 29 from 5:30PM-7:00PM.
Every great endeavor