A big stick tap to Capitals Senior Writer, Mike Vogel, who brought a new Caps' youth hockey initiative to HM's multi-tasking attention! As the youth season starts to get into full swing (my kids play their first tournament this weekend), the Caps have unveiled a new section on their Web site dedicated to the booming youth hockey movement in the D.C. area. HM can attest that learn-to-play enrollment has skyrocketed at our rink - greatly influenced by the success and popularity of our beloved Capitals. The squirt and mite house programs have grown at record pace and it's a joy to see these little guys on skates sporting their favorite Capitals' sweater (I can hardly remember when mine were that small - feigns long sigh).
The new Youth Hockey page has loads of helpful information for parents and kids of all ages who want to pursue their passion for puck. There's information on everything from what equipment you'll need to area rinks to local travel clubs. The equipment section goes into great detail about what to buy and how everything should fit. My own personal tip: buy mouthguards by the truckful! The minute they step on the ice for a tournament, you can rest assure that the 15 mouthguards you thought were floating around the bottom of the hockey bag are nowhere to be found. And the refs don't play that....
As for the awful smell of aforementioned equipment, I can't help so much with that. Febreze and washing what can go into the machine can make it a bit less nauseating but as the season goes on, you get used to it. Even the sticks smell - just sayin'.
The Caps have also added a Capitals Academy feature, which delves into the rules of the game and also spotlights some very cool instructional videos that youth coaches can incorporate into their own practice agendas.
Speaking of local youth hockey guys made good, former Capital Jeff Halpern has found a new home with those pesky Montreal Canadiens.