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ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals American-born players John Carlson, Connor Carrick and Jack Hillen hosted more than 120 children and adults assisted by Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors for a skating party held Feb. 3. at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

The event kicked off the 2013-14 Courage Caps campaign. For the third consecutive season, TAPS is the beneficiary of Courage Caps. TAPS is a nonprofit organization that provides comfort and care for anyone who is grieving the death of someone who died while serving in the military. TAPS will receive 100 percent of the proceeds raised through the sale of Courage Caps.

Skating party attendees participated in an hour-long skating session with Carlson, Carrick and Hillen.

“It’s such a great cause,” said Hillen. “When I get to come out here and meet kids and sign autographs for them, to see the smile on their faces, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Funds raised will provide peer-based emotional support, regional seminars for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, casework assistance, grief and trauma resources and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for bereaved military families, regardless of the location or circumstances of the death. Services are provided free of charge. For more information about TAPS, visit www.taps.org or call 800-959-TAPS (8277).

“Losing someone, I can’t imagine what they have gone through,” said Hillen. “All of the charities that support military are great. Those families gave so much for our country and for our freedom. It doesn’t go unnoticed, and I am really thankful for all that they do for us.”

Since the program launched during the 2007-08 season, the Courage Caps campaign has set a new record each year, donating a total of nearly $350,000 to charity through the sale of 12,000 Courage Caps in six years and more than 5,000 T-shirts in four years.