It was a regular season game between the Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders, but the night was dedicated to the military’s service members from the moment Army Capt. Mark Little, a double leg amputee, participated in a ceremonial puck drop to highlight the 12th Annual Salute to Military Night Feb. 4 at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C.
The Washington Capitals organization and several corporate sponsors provided complimentary tickets for more than 500 military members to attend the game. Veterans and their family members were treated like VIPs during a pregame reception held in their honor in Verizon Center’s Acela Club.
During the reception, Ted Leonsis, chairman, majority owner and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, noted, “Seeing how these military young men and women overcome great obstacles and are welcomed by our community really is heart-warming. And we’re very grateful for the support of our fans,” said Leonsis. “We’re also very grateful because a lot of these other companies who are sponsors that hire lots of people in our community give to us so that we can give 100 percent of the proceeds of the money that we raise back to these military-oriented charities. And we’re going to be very involved in a Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors fundraiser to raise even more money. It’s just a charity that we believe in and I hope that everyone in the building will continue to support it.”
The Capitals paid tribute to the military throughout the evening, with images on active duty and retired veterans displayed on the jumbotron, as well as personal thanks from Washington Capitals team members, Connor Carrick, Jack Hillen and John Carlson.
During the last intermission, Army Capt. Mark Little was joined by Army Staff Sgt. Drew Young, Spc. Bryan Kidd, to show their skills during a competition against goalie, Spc. Donald Urbany.