The Washington Capitals welcomed the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club to MedStar Capitals Iceplex for a special practice on Friday night that featured Bill Riley, Alan May, Neal Henderson and more familiar faces.
Henderson, the first Black individual inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame, led the Cannons practice along with the team’s coaching staff. The Capitals youth hockey development staff was also in attendance, along with alumni May, Karl Alzner, Peter Bondra and Paul Mulvey.
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Riley, the first Black Nova Scotian and third Black player to play in the NHL, also made a cameo. Riley made his NHL debut with Washington back in 1974. In 125 career games with the Capitals, Riley picked up 28 goals and 28 assists.
Riley and his granddaughter, Kryshanda Green, are set to drop the puck at Capital One on Monday as the team celebrates Black History Night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team will also wear Henderson helmet decals and special warm-up jerseys.
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Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club is the oldest minority youth hockey program in North America. The program aims to give local and inner-city youth in the D.C. area the opportunity to play organized hockey. It also strives to help the youth succeed academically and learn discipline while raising their self-esteem.
The Cannons play at Fort Dupont Ice Arena, built in Ward 7 in 1974. It is the only full-size indoor ice arena currently in D.C. However, it could be in trouble.
With construction on the new facility set to begin, FIDA was going to close in February. However, Friends of Fort Dupont say the arena will no longer close with the new rink’s future in jeopardy.
Fort Dupont’s board members are saying that the D.C. Department of General Services are shifting cost and construction schedules. In addition, D.C.’s Department Of Permitting Services said the project would cost double the original cost at $37.5 million. Also, the facility will now have just one ice rink instead of the previously agreed-upon two. The construction timeline was also stretched out from 12-18 months to a “best guess” of 27 months.
Washington and MSE Foundation are currently running an online shop with co-branded Capitals and Cannons merchandise. Proceeds go to the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club and the Capital Impact Fund. The shop can be found here.