Many of Loudoun’s hockey youth didn’t hit the ice Friday afternoon. Instead, they took their gameplay to the asphalt.
Dozens of young ice-hockey enthusiasts played their favorite game on makeshift rinks set up in the Ashburn Ice House’s parking lot, as part of the Washington Capitals yearlong Street Caps program. The kids had the chance to not only compete against each other in games, but also to learn passing and shooting techniques and, overall, how to better their hockey skill set.
Nine-year-old Sebastian Matson, a two-year hockey player, said the biggest difference between playing hockey out in the parking lot, as opposed to the ice rink, was that “it’s definitely hotter.”
As a defender in the game, Sebastian said his favorite part of hockey is stealing the puck and that compared with playing on his iPad, playing hockey is better.
Andrew Nash, the Capitals’ community hockey coordinator, said that, while it was “pretty tough” to play hockey with kids in Richmond the previous weekend during the excessive heat wave along the East Coast, the games in Ashburn went well.
The 2018 Stanley Cup Champions’ Street Caps program, sponsored by AAA, is designed to grow the game of hockey to local youth and make it accessible, while also emphasizing the importance of staying active and physically fit.
The program travels to hockey rinks, schools and other venues across the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia region all year and is run by Capitals employees, all of whom have prior experience coaching or playing hockey at various levels.
The program also visited Ashburn’s Trailside Park, which features a Washington Capitals-branded roller rink, for the Rock the Rink Playoff Rally when the Capitals were in the playoffs earlier this year.