Thursday morning at Fort Dupont Ice Arena, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and advisor to and daughter of the President, Ivanka Trump, presented the Trump Administration’s National Youth Sports Strategy.
According to Azar, the strategy will give “$6.7 million in grants to 18 organizations in 13 states as part of [their] youth in sports initiative.”
Azar then thanked the NHL and Monumental Sports and Entertainment for their support of youth programs. The Nationals’ youth baseball academy and Fort Dupont Ice Arena, both of which support underserved youth in the D.C. area, will be two of the strategy’s financial recipients.
In attendance from the Capitals’ organization were players Tom Wilson and John Carlson, mascot Slapshot, former Capital and current color analyst Craig Laughlin. Neal Henderson, co-founder of the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club and recent US Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, was also present.
When youth engage in sports, their life outcomes improve dramatically yet youth sports participation has ⬇️ in the past decade. We will reverse this trend! pic.twitter.com/8Ejbrm0tyM
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) September 19, 2019
According to the Department of Health, the Strategy will offer “actionable strategies” and be a “resource for policymakers and key decision-makers in youth sports. It aims to unite U.S. youth sports culture around a shared vision: that one day, all young people will have the opportunity, motivation, and access to play sports — regardless of their race, ethnicity, sex, ability, or ZIP code.”
The Hill, a website that covers politics and policy, was also documenting the event. Alex Azar thanked Ivanka Trump for her “leadership and multifaceted work to improve the lives of American children.”
.@IvankaTrump and HHS Secretary Alex Azar visit Fort Dupont Ice Arena to announce federal strategy to increase youth sports participation. pic.twitter.com/QneygHJ8Vx
— The Hill (@thehill) September 19, 2019
Laughlin interviewed Hall of Famer-er Pat LaFontaine about the event during the intermission of Wednesday night’s preseason game against the St. Louis Blues. “[T]wo years ago, we launched the Declaration of Principles and that was the global hockey community coming together on our values,” LaFontaine said.
“Putting a stake in the ground and saying this is who we are. It wasn’t just the highest levels… And really our values and principles make us who we are. What was exciting was that no one has done that in sports. The hockey world globally signed on.”
Staff writer for NHL.com William Douglas reported that as part of Thursday’s event LaFontaine was named as the liaison between the Board of Directors for the congressionally chartered nonprofit, the National Fitness Foundation, and the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition.
"It's a tremendous honor. The character-building you learn from sports, the life skills you learn from sports, is really its greatest value." https://t.co/FfE4oALrKm
— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) September 19, 2019
The connection with the NHL was visible as well as ideological. Video from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ live feed of the event shows the participants walking out on a red carpet emblazoned with “Washington Capitals,” with the podium resting on the Weagle’s head.
LIVE: @SecAzar and @WhiteHouse officials announce @FitnessGov’s National Youth Sports Strategy. #NYSS https://t.co/tRUNKT6sRO
— HHS.gov (@HHSGov) September 19, 2019
NBC Sports Washington showed Ivanka Trump walking onto the ice as she and Azar spoke with the youth hockey players.
Today @IvankaTrump introduced the @HHSGov’s National Youth Sports Strategy at Fort Dupont Ice Arena. @tom_wilso & @JohnCarlson74 were in attendance for the announcement alongside some youth players. pic.twitter.com/VM3SiU9TZX
— NBCSports Washington (@NBCSWashington) September 19, 2019
Both Tom Wilson and John Carlson stumbled into Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner at Cafe Milano during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup celebrations. The Capitals visited the Trump White House in March in recognition of their Stanley Cup win.
Headline photo: @IvankaTrump
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