For two Capitals players, Saturday afternoon’s practice at Medstar Capitals Iceplex was only the beginning of their day. After a high-energy practice focused on the team’s power-play and penalty-kill, Capitals defensemen Nick Jensen and Jonas Siegenthaler both put in extra time on the ice, albeit in a different rink: DC’s historic Fort Dupont Ice Arena.
Jensen and Sigenthaler practiced with the Fort Dupont Cannons. The Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Program was founded in 1978 by Neal Henderson, who was recently inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame for his community leadership and contributions to the growth of hockey in DC.
The 82-year-old Coach Henderson watched the practice from the bench, something that still brings him excitement even after over 40 years in coaching. “Every day, I look forward to seeing these kids play hockey,” Henderson said.
“They’re eager to learn and they were overjoyed at the fact that the Caps were here today,” Henderson said of the Cannons. “They enjoy meeting with [the Capitals players] and talking to them. It inspires them to do better, when they see the Caps come out because we talk about the Caps sometimes when we’re having our meetings. To let them know the Caps came up the same way that they’re doing.”