NYC Caps Crew Fundraiser – 4.7.18

 The NHL Playoffs begin tomorrow which means my life revolves around hockey until the Washington Capitals inevitably disappoint me. If you read this blog fairly regularly you probably know about my obsession with the Miami Dolphins and about the non-profit organization that I started with my friend Michelle called Dolfans NYC, but you might not know about my hockey problem. 

I’ve been a Capitals fan since I was a little kid but it wasn’t until I became a full time freelancer (almost 1o years ago!) that I started caring about hockey anywhere near the same level as I do football. I used to just watch the playoffs but when I started working from home I found that hockey games were the perfect thing to work to. I could put them on in the background and with 82 games in the season no one game is that important. I would look up if there was a power play or a goal but mostly I would just listen while I worked. 

I started watching the playoffs with some people but it wasn’t until 2010 when a combination of the Caps playoffs and the Winter Olympics led to a more organized group. Over the years these people became friends who I started hanging out with outside of hockey games which is something I’ve never really done with my Dolfans NYC people. But then things really stepped up another level when in 2015 we had an incident at a playoff game on Long Island that ended up going viral after I wrote an an open letter to the New York Islanders. Being in the national news attracted a ton more people to our watch parties and the group of us who went to that game started a Facebook chat that is still going strong 3 years later and has become the backbone of our “New York City Caps Crew“.

One of the issues I wrote about in my open letter was about the racist treatment of my friend Fatou. Fatou is a black female hockey fan which is unfortunately fairly uncommon at a hockey game. She also happens to be one of the loudest (and if you happen to be a rival fan – one of the most obnoxious) people I have ever met. This has led to some really disgusting experiences where people have made these coded racial comments to her. At the Islanders game it was comments about her hair and at a Devils game last year someone accused her of being on welfare. These certainly aren’t the only examples but they bring us a little closer to the point of this post.

The Capitals have a player on the team named Devante Smith-Pelly who happens to be black and during a game against the Chicago Blackhawks some Hawks fans started chanting “Basketball” at him. It was the same kinda gross coded racial insults that Fatou has faced. He was noticeably upset about it and talked about it after the game. The incident made national news and embarrassed Blackhawks fans decided they would try and turn the negative into a positive and ended up raising $20,000 to a charity in Smith_Pelly’s name. The charity he chose was the Ft. Dupont Ice Arena.

Ft. Dupont is a skating rink in DC that gives inner city kids a chance to skate that they might not normally have.  Unlike most sports where you can just get a ball and play hockey and figure skating requires a rink and unless you live somewhere very cold with a bunch of lakes you are going to have to pay to have access to ice. On top of that skates and hockey equipment are quite expensive which means  there are a lot of kids who grow up without ever having the opportunity skate, but Ft. Dupont’s helps level the ice so to speak.

Fatou was really inspired by this fundraising and she knew about all the charity work I do with Dolfans NYC and she reached out to me about doing a fundraiser for Ft. Dupont as well. I gave her some advice but she really took it and ran. We decided to do a fundraiser on April 7th at Jojo’s Philosophy, during the last Caps game of the year, but Fatou also wanted to do an online fundraiser and it ended up raising $3000 before the event even happened thanks in part to a great profile of Fatou in my favorite sports blog Russian Machine Never Breaks!

At our Dolfans NYC events the most money we make is via merch sales so I knew we needed to do a t-shirt or something. We always refer to Devante Smith-Pelly as DSP and so quickly “You down with DSP? Yeah, you know me!” became a chant referencing the Naughty By Nature song “OPP”. The Naughty by Nature logo is so iconic and features a baseball bat so I was thinking it would be a great idea to do DSP’s name in the style of that logo with a hockey stick instead of a baseball bat. Fortunately NYC Caps Crew member Justin is a designer and cranked us out an amazing logo and we made a bunch of t-shirts. I also broke out my old button maker from my punk rock days and made a bunch of stupid buttons to sell. On top of that we asked people to bring in Caps stuff for a raffle. 

The party was a blast and we ended up raising another $1000 and our final gift to Ft. Dupont was over $4000! Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and almost scored a third which would have given him his 8th 50 goal season. Unfortunately he didn’t hit 50 but he still scored more goals than anyone else in the league for an astounding 7th time in his career and it gave an otherwise meaningless game something to cheer for. I took photos of the party for Russian Machine so you can either look at them there or look at them on here. Whatever works. 

Anyway, this post is over 1000 words and it features no nudity or celebrities holding puppies or anything like that so I am going to wrap it it up, but wish me luck in the playoffs because I am about to lose my goddamn mind rooting for this team that has ripped my heart out time and time again. 

Donate to Ft. Dupont Ice Arena here.

And click here to see all the photos from our NYC Caps Crew fundraiser at Jojo’s Philosophy.

NYC Caps Crew

NYC Caps Crew

NYC Caps Crew

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