Capitals host lucky kids at special hockey clinic
Dozens of lucky kids got to drop the puck with the pros today as the Washington Capitals hosted an Extreme Recess, part of Hockey is for Everyone Month.
It was a hockey clinic unlike any other, as a hundred kids arrived at Arlington's Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
The kids - some on skates, others on sleds - all have physical or developmental disabilities.
Cheering on their success were some of the best at the game.
“It's hard to describe in words, but just seeing the smiles on everyone's faces. It makes your day and more,” says Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.
“It's unreal. It's a great experience,” says defenseman Kundratek Tomas. “This is my first time and I'm really enjoying it. There's so many kids smiling, wearing Caps jerseys.”
This special day was made possible thanks to a children's charity called Dreams for Kids.
The D.C. chapter hosts adaptive sports clinics every month, free of charge.
This is the third year the Capitals skated into the mix, sharing their skills with some of their youngest fans.
"This is just wonderful to connect with other people who know what your struggles are, having a special needs child and just watching them feel successful," says Stephanie Wangsness of Bristow, Virginia, mother of 5-year-old Aleksia Wangsness who has an undiagnosed disorder similar to cerebral palsy.
“It means a lot to the parents to come out and see that their children are capable of doing things that other children can do and experience,” says one of the mothers, Janasha Thomas of D.C.
Trey Cochran of Prince Frederick, Maryland can't tell dad how much fun he's having. His Down Syndrome limits his speech. But one glance at this rink and you can see that no words are needed.
More than 12,000 D.C. children have disabilities and there are similar numbers for surrounding counties.
Hitting the ice is one small way of proving to them they can achieve their goals.