Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wilson High Hockey Fundraiser

I am still hopscotching cities, but I can tell you that a week away from the internet has been brutal. I heard something about a debate in Texas, Britney Spear's Mom, and the weather in OK City. Obviously my news sources were not the best. I'll have more on my grand trip and return to the 21st century son, but for now, OFB puts it best (ugh! I would have had something on this up earlier if I wasnt on the road. I better see you all there!)

Bloggers, Readers, and Pro Hockey Teams Banding Together for Wilson High
By The OFB Team
We hinted at wanting to do something for the District’s Wilson High School hockey team when we learned about their
extraordinary story last month. To sum up: Wilson is the District’s only public high school with a varsity hockey team. It was, until last year, guided by an impassioned trailblazer, Paul McKenzie — the type of coach who changes lives and improves his community. He succumbed to pneumonia last winter, and the program, through no fault of the tireless and committed student athletes and parents upholding it, is today stuggling for solvency.

A coalition of Caps’ bloggers — Japers’ Rink, Capital Addiction, Off Wing Opinion, The Peerless Prognosticator, Three Grumpy Caps Fans, and OFB — with the committed assistance of both the Washington Capitals and the Hershey Bears, has worked in recent weeks to cobble together a Friday evening of puck watching at one of D.C.’s best hot spots — Clyde’s at Gallery Place, adjacent to the Verizon Center — and hold an auction to benefit the Wilson High hockey team.
For the price of a movie ticket — $10 — we would ask each and every reader of these six blogs living in or near D.C. to make Friday night, February 29 one for hockey history in Washington.

At 7:00 p.m. that evening at the Clyde’s of Gallery Place we’ll gather upstairs to watch the Caps take on the Devils in New Jersey, throw back a few puck sodas, and try and raise some urgently needed money for this desperate and inspiring hockey club.

Many of Wilson’s players never knew of hockey before being introduced to it by Paul McKenzie. We want to help keep these kids skating. Badly.

And Friday night, February 29, will also inaugurate a weekend designated in Paul McKenzie’s honor: the Wilson team will skate that Saturday and Sunday in the first-ever Paul McKenzie Memorial Hockey Tournament in Frederick, Md.

We’ve never before asked anything of our readers in the way of contributions for a cause, but our bloggers’ coalition and the Caps and their affiliate believe in the urgency of this one. Both pro hockey teams have donated items for the auction (including, yes, items signed by Alexander Ovechkin). The entire Bears’ team signed Daren Maschesney’s hockey stick for this event.
Officials from the Hershey Bears will travel down for the event, and Caps’ reps, too, will be on hand. We’ll have Wilson hockey parents on hand. We heard from Kathy Cox, Executive Director of the Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, who told us, “Consider us a part of the team to help the Wilson hockey club.”

It promises to be a memorable evening for an eminently worthy cause. Bring some cash, bring your checkbook, bring your thirst. Even Clyde’s is getting into the giving act.

We are working still on an idea to get some technology involved that would allow folks outside of Washington and unable to make it to Clyde’s on the 29th to chip in for the team. We’ll keep you posted on that front.

In the “Without Whom” department: OFB would like to thank Clyde’s of Gallery Place for generously offering to host the event. Many thanks also go to Shmee of Capital Addiction, whose event-organizing expertise was invaluable to this endeavor. Eric McErlain of Off Wing Opinion offered valuable fundraiser guidance. Our friend Peerless spent hours gathering and editing images and artwork. All of the bloggers involved have been generous and supportive.
And certainly we could not pull off this kind of event absent the support of two very community-oriented hockey organizations, the Washington Capitals and the Hershey Bears.

Update: For those readers not in the DC area who cannot attend but still wish to help, we are working out details for how you can donate from wherever you are. We’ll post more information as it becomes available.This event is sponsored by your friendly neighborhood Capitals blogs; we’re looking forward to seeing all of you on the 29th!

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