Zachary is now almost 9 and in third grade. His cerebral palsy causes his brain to have trouble communicating with his muscles. Every year, he gets stronger and more coordinated but he still can't stand on skates, so this clinic is the only time he gets to go on the ice.
Zachary was very excited to discover the Anaheim Ducks practicing on the other rink when we arrived at Kettler today. Though we watch the Caps practice quite frequently, he has never seen another NHL team.
After watching the Ducks practice over a quick lunch, we headed down to get the sleds and hit the ice. Special thanks to Zachary's volunteer Anum and all of the other volunteers who helped everyone get their gear and onto the ice safely.
Zachary still enjoys being pushed around the ice, but his focus has changed to wanting to play hockey. As soon as we got onto the ice, he began looking for the foam pucks and sticks to play with.
The first person with a stick that Zachary saw happened to be Caps defenseman Karl Alzner. Karl nicely gave Zachary his stick to use; once Zachary got his hands on it, he wasn't letting go!
Both Karl and defenseman Brooks Orpik were so great with the kids - you can tell they are fathers themselves.
Zachary had a great time shooting the foam pucks with the other kids and volunteers and played happily for an hour until it was time for the group picture.
We really look forward to this event every year and can't thank both Dreams for Kids DC and the Capitals MSE Foundation for organizing.
To see all the photos and videos I took today, please check out my Google photo album. Please don't republish any photos without attribution.
Here are a couple of stories about today's event. I'll link to more photos and videos as they become available
- Here's the Caps press release (with Zachary's photo prominently featured) and MSE foundation photo gallery
- The blog NovaCaps took tons of great photos!
- WUSA 9 story and video
- ABC 7 story and video
Thanks for reading!