Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin has made ice hockey cool for Washington area’s youth athletes – The Post
Youth hockey is growing in BeltwayLand, seemingly concurrent with the arrival of Alex Ovechkin and rise of the Washington Capitals from a black sweater-wearing doormat to a annual division winner rocking the red. There is a similarity between the rise of youth hockey in greater D.C. to what happened in Western Pennsylvania after Mario Lemieux was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins and in Southern California when Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. Both those areas have started producing NHL caliber talent.
The only Washington area NHL starter to date is Jeff Halpern who is from Potomac, Md. Halpren had to go away to prep school though. After that, he starred at Princeton and was signed by the Caps. After serving as captain in 2005-2006, Halpern signed elsewhere and bounced around before returning this season.
Another contributor to the growing youth hockey culture is Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The facility onto of the Ballston parking garage in Arlington increased available rink space. Additionally, the Caps have increased their outreach to youth hockey. The son of one of our friends plays on a team based out of there, I think. Growing up, I knew of only one of my classmates who played organized hockey. I think the Caps ought to focus on street hockey as well and perhaps see to it that there are some rinks around.
Back to the ice, the Caps blew a 2 goal lead in 12 seconds to the Winnipeg Jets with under 2 minutes to play last night. At least they got a point for the shootout loss (Florida Panther-ed!). I still think they will win the division.