Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Washington Capitals may have had their playoff run cut short by the New York Rangers, but they made every game count. Thanks to the Capitals’ Beard-A-Thon, the organization is set to donate more than $33,000 to the American Special Hockey Association.
As has become post-season tradition across the NHL, the Washington Capitals grew playoff beards as part of their run to the Stanley Cup. And while Washington’s post-season trip ended in the second round, the beards helped the team raise more than $33,700 for the American Special Hockey Association.
As part of what was called the Capitals Beard-A-Thon, and through a process similar to the popular Movember campaign, fans were requested to grow beards along with the team, while others could donate money to those growing facial hair for the playoffs or to the Capitals players themselves. All the proceeds were then donated to the ASHA.
“We are very pleased that the Washington Capitals selected the American Special Hockey Association as the beneficiary of funds raised through Beard-A-Thon®,” Mike Hickey, ASHA president, told the Capitals website. “The amazing support of the Capitals organization and its fans for growing a beard or donating to the cause makes the organization among the best in the National Hockey League.”
The top-earning beard grower was Capitals fan Jeff Taft, who brought in more than $10,000 for the charity.
“Growing a beard and raising money for a local charity where everyone can see the actual results have an impact is a great motivation,” Taft told the Capitals site. “I have very generous friends and family, and this year was a fun year because the parent of one of the children who benefits from the charity encouraged me to win it for his daughter. His daughter, Ann Schaab, and Alex Ovechkin have a unique friendship through the charity, and I didn't want to disappoint Ann or Alex, let alone her father."
Some may remember Schaab, who has Down syndrome, as the young girl who famously asked Ovechkin to accompany her for a date during an ASHA event with the Capitals. Ovechkin obliged and not only did he and his young fan hit it off, they became great friends.
At the 2015 All-Star Game draft in Columbus, Ovechkin attempted to win a car by being the last overall selection in the draft, with the intention being that he would donate the car to Schaab’s hockey team where it could then be raffled off.
Good on the Capitals for making their playoff run matter that much more. Maybe next season it can go deeper with even more money being donated to the AHSA.
Fans who still wish to support the Capitals and AHSA can continue to donate here for the remainder of the post-season.