Caps partner with puppies for non-profit canine calendar

ARLINGTON, VA. (WJLA) – Washington Capitals fans have a new reason to cheer on their team. Their favorite hockey players are partnering with puppies for a cause we can all rally behind: they’re helping a local non-profit rescue pets.

“We have fun doing it and I hope the animals do too,” said Caps Defenseman Karl Alzner, while posing with a locker room full of pups.

“We’ve got a soft side to us so we're loveable guys," added right wing Joel Ward.

Eighteen of the Capitals' finest stepped out of their comfort zones and in front of the camera Tuesday for a special photo shoot to create a calendar, teaming up with their furry friends for a great cause.

“I’m not really a model per se," admitted Ward. His dog is another story.

“Look at that pose right there,” he said while holding his miniature pinscher. “He's a cute little guy."

Homeward Trails Animal Rescue Founder Sue Bell couldn’t believe her eyes.

“They were big buckets of mush and I think the dogs picked up on that and responded incredibly well,” she said of the players.

The 2014 Canine Calendar will pump all its proceeds into her non-profit organization.

The players’ significant others chose the charity so homeless pets could find forever homes.

“It is absolutely thrilling and exciting for us,” said Bell. “The money raised will actually go to directly help us rescue more dogs and puppies."

"Anything that we can do to help and start getting dogs into homes and makes families happy, it's a great thing,” chimed in defenseman John Carlson.

He just bought his first dog Ellie, a Goldendoodle, and now has a classic case of puppy love.

“It’s certainly really cool to have a little girl and spend your off-time with her," he said starring at his puppy affectionately. "[She] makes anyone's heart melt."

His fellow defenseman Karl Alzner has three prized pooches. He rocked a glitter hat for the photo-booth themed shoot. His dogs wore bow ties.

"It's fun [and] it's entertaining,” said Alzner. “We've done this a couple times now [and] it's always fun to see how the dogs react and the kind of funny faces you can get them to do."

He and his teammates enjoyed a little post-practice fun while proving some of the toughest hockey players have the biggest hearts.

“If it was up to me, we'd leave with another two, so I'm having a tough time saying no right now," said Alzner, eyeing all the adoptable dogs.

The last Caps calendar raised $30,000 for the Washington Animal Rescue League.

Again, all proceeds from the calendar sold this season will benefit Homeward Trails:

The calendar will cost $20 and is expected to go on sale Dec. 3 at the Capitals-Hurricanes game.