Washington Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin, left wing Jason Chimera and mascot Slapshot visited Saint James Catholic School in Falls Church, Virginia on Monday, September 12 to demonstrate and teach floor hockey to 220 fifth through eighth graders.
The students normally wear uniforms to school, however, got to wear "gym clothes" on Monday for the hockey session and almost everyone was rocking the red. A handful were even wearing Capitals jerseys.
The Saint James School physical education teacher, Jane Briggs, wrote to the Capitals to express her students interest in hockey and was selected as one of the Hockey Schools. Briggs wanted to "introduce [hockey] to them because it's a game that anyone can play" and she wanted to promote the game which she added to her curriculum.
The players started the clinic by answering questions from the students. The kids had put in a lot of thought and wrote questions on cards ahead of time. One student asked players, "Who is the best player in hockey?" Chimera said Ovi and Ovi said Chimera which was followed by a lot of laughter and applause from the crowd.
Along with the Caps Amateur Hockey & Fan Development Coordinator, Peter Robinson, Alex and Jason demonstrated basic hockey skills such as stick handling, passing, shooting with the help of Slapshot. As excited as the kids were to see Chimera and Ovi, they went wild for Slapshot!
Students volunteered to get hands on training after each new skill was introduced. Two students even dressed up in goalie gear and protected their net during a scrimmage. It was "boys against girls" and Chimera lead the boys to a 1-0 victory over Ovi and the girls.
As a special treat, fifth graders sang a song for the Capitals and thanking them for coming to their school.
I'm not sure who had more fun, the students or Alex Ovechkin! Ovi was all smiles.
All of the students who participated in the hockey session received pre-signed autographed player cards from Ovechkin and Chimera as well as Caps soft pucks and Hockey 101 booklets.
This was the second Capitals Hockey School visit this season. The Capitals host two Hockey School visits each month between September and May and donate street hockey equipment to each participating school. This is the fifth-consecutive year the Capitals have conducted this rewarding program. The Caps have hosted more than 50 clinics and reached more than 7,500 students in the past four years. Hockey School is a free program, designed to be both instructional and interactive, with the goal of exposing students to floor hockey while teaching proper technique.