ASHBURN, Va. (WDVM) — The Washington Metro area rallied around the Washington Capitals as the team took home the Stanley Cup last year. A generation of young hockey players are stepping on the ice to see whether they’ll be next.
“Unfortunately, you can’t just step on the ice and start playing hockey because you saw an exciting Washington Capitals game. You first have to learn how to skate,” said General Manager Rob Lorenzen of the Ashburn Ice House.
The ice rink first teaches kids how to skate before they’re eligible for the next step: Future Caps, a program that teaches kids, ages 5 to 9, how to play hockey. The Ashburn Ice House has been a proud partner of the Caps for 14 years, and is the only ice rink in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties that offers the program.
“We’re trying to grow the sport. Grow the game. So the opportunity to teach these kids the game of hockey and eliminate the cost of the equipment is a great opportunity for us,” said Lorenzen. The Caps and NHL provide the kids with $250 worth of equipment, including hockey sticks, skates, and fitted jerseys.
“You feel kind of like you’re a Caps player,” said Future Cap PJ.
The NHL trains the instructors, but assistant instructor at Ashburn Ice House Wan Choi says the league is always open to suggestions. “We had an opportunity this past summer to give feedback to the NHL, and it was taken. I’m happy to hear that they want to make it a fun experience for the kids as well as the parents.”
Future Cap Sebastian says he likes his instructors. “If we’re not doing something correctly, they just come over and help us.”
“They’re cute right now, but as they grow older we love seeing their skills develop,” said Choi.