Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy Hockey is for Everybody Month!

Donald Brashear, Willie O’Ree and Wayne Simmonds skate with the kids at Fort Dupont Ice Arena in Washington, D.C., to celebrate Hockey is for Everyone month.

Now these are some happy hockey faces! The future hockey stars from the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club in Washington, D.C. were all smiles after skating with the Caps' Donald Brashear, the L.A. Kings' Wayne Simmonds and the NHL's first black player, the great Willie O'Ree. Brashear, Simmonds and O’Ree spent an hour skating with the kids and teaching them different hockey skills, including shooting drills and skating drills.

Yesterday's visit highlighted Hockey is for Everyone month, which is an initiative that runs throughout February and celebrates hockey’s growth and diversity. Hockey is for Everyone provides support and unique programming to non-profit youth hockey organizations across North America that are committed to offering children of all backgrounds the opportunity to play hockey. Since its inception, Hockey is for Everyone has exposed more than 45,000 boys and girls to unique hockey experiences.

Best known for his role as the Cap's tough-guy enforcer, don't let Donald Brashear's on-ice persona fool you - he loves working with the little guys and teaching them his craft! Of yesterday's event, Brash said: “Fort Dupont is such a great program, and I love coming out here and skating with the children. It was fun hanging out with the kids, they love playing hockey.”

Current NHL Diversity Director Willie O'Ree told the kids that one of the most important things about the game is to have fun!

“This is all about fun, lets have fun tonight,” said O’Ree when he addressed the kids. “It’s important for the children to see Donald and Wayne out here and see that they can be just like them.”

The NHL's first black player, O’Ree was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, in 1935. He was called up to the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League to replace an injured player and made his NHL debut on Jan. 18, 1958 against the rival Montreal Canadiens. In a game against Montreal on Jan. 1, 1961, O’Ree scored his first NHL goal, which was also the first goal ever scored by a black player in the NHL.

Sounds like a good time was had by all and keep up the great work, Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club! Hockey Mom hopes to have the chance to see you guys play soon!

In the meantime, "the Donald" will face off with Wayne Simmond's L.A. Kings' club tonight at the Verizon Center - HM is in the house.

Happy Hockey is for Everyone month to all you great fans out there - keep spreading the puck love...

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