Carlson and friends go out for a skate
Kettler Iceplex was the scene of a rare sight Friday morning. Capitals players John Carlson, Jay Beagle, Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich, ex-Cap Jeff Halpern and retired Capital Peter Bondra took to the ice for a pickup game with a few college players (including both George McPhee's son, Graham McPhee, and Peter Bondra's son) from NVCC, Michigan State, Princeton and the University of Connecticut, to name a few.
John Carlson tweeted Thursday evening that he and a few other locked out players and teammates would be scrimmaging local college hockey players at 8:30 a.m on Friday at Kettler. Considering hockey fans in the D.C. area have been deprived of hockey for going on four months, this was a welcome distraction to the lockout.
After the scrimmage, a few players worked on shooting drills and then gathered in the Kettler lobby to sign autographs and talk to fans. Jason Chimera spoke with Hockey Shopped and had some strong opinions regarding Gary Bettman and the lockout, which will be featured in an upcoming article.
A few of the players have been skating with Wendy Marco, one of the top skating coaches in the U.S. "Beag, Chim, Carlson and Halpy have skated on Mondays and Fridays and have been skating on their own. They do their own drills with me and so Sunday night, I texted Halpy to see if he wanted to get some of the guys together," says Marco. "I asked Jay to get a hold of a couple of guys and I get a text from Halpern that he didn’t want to practice on Friday and would rather skate out with the boys for a pick up game."
Marco also coaches college players in addition to NHL and AHL players and has been the power skating coach to the Washington Little Capitals for the last ten years. "I knew all of my guys are back from college and in town, so Halpy who skates with my D1 guys in the summer got the text. He was all for it so I reached out to the goalie [Jay Williams] of Miami of Ohio and he was in. Monday I skated with them (NHL players)."
A few of the college players that have been joining the locked-out NHL players are goalie Jay Williams, a freshman at the University of Miami at Ohio,
Drew Jelinek, who grew up in Great Falls and plays D3 hockey at Hamilton College, Chris Bond of the University of Connecticut and Ashburn native Andrew Ammon who plays for Princeton. Ammon recently became the only player since 1993 to score 4 goals in a game. "He's awesome," says Marco. Ammon has also formed a relationship with Jeff Halpern, a Princeton alum, who has "taken him [Ammon] under his wing," according to Marco.
It all came together on Friday morning.
"I feel like a proud mom today," says Marco. "They [D1/D3 players] are holding their own out there as you can see. Bondra’s son and McPhee’s son Graham skated out today. How cool is that to have a legend to go skate out with you in Bondra? All the guys just want to play hockey. The Caps skaters have been doing drills and to have them out today playing a pick up game is great."
"They just want to play hockey. I hope it all resolves soon."
For more photos from the event, go here