ARLINGTON, Virginia — The Washington Capitals haven’t had many opportunities to interact with the Fort Dupont Cannons over the past two seasons due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, but they’ve found other ways to support the oldest program. youth hockey focused on minorities in North America.
This includes opening a online merchandise store in early January to sell hoodies, t-shirts, pom pom beanies and iron-on patches featuring Cannons and Capitals logos.
Capitals coaches wore the co-branded hoodies in practice Monday and players wore them during media availability before heading out to face the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ATTSN , NBCSWA, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).
“It’s such an awesome program,” Capitals forward said Thomas Wilson noted. “Obviously we would have liked to be there a bit more in the last two years, but the world had other plans, and we are excited for the day when we can go back and spend time with the children. such a great program where a lot of people in this field go or hang out at some point in their lives and I think we’re thrilled as Caps to be partners.”
Proceeds from the sale of Capitals-Cannons apparel will benefit The Cannons and The Washington Capitals Capital Impact Fund. The cannons will be between rinks after the Fort Dupont Ice Arena in southeast Washington, their home since their founding in 1978, closes for demolition on March 1. A new $23 million rink will be built in its place and is expected to be completed by the fall. 2023, and merchandise sales will serve the Cannons in the meantime.
Before the pandemic, Capitals players visited the Fort Dupont Ice Arena every year to skate with the Cannons. Last season, they took part in a virtual tour with the Cannons and coach Peter Laviolette joined a virtual coaching panel with coach and Fort Dupont founder Neal Henderson and Duante Abercrombie, an alumnus of the Cannons and assistant NCAA Division III men’s hockey team Stevenson University, located outside of Baltimore.
“It was great to chat with them last year and talk about hockey,” said Laviolette. “It’s a really, really cool story. There are some great coaches I’ve been able to meet through the Zoom call, but thanks to COVID you’re missing the personal interaction and we’re still a bit on the periphery But it’s great to represent them today.”