Capitals fans raised more than $33,700 for the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) by participating in the team’s Beard-A-Thon initiative during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A playoff beard is the superstitious practice of a hockey player not shaving his beard during the playoffs. The player stops shaving when his team enters the playoffs and does not shave until his team is either eliminated or wins the Stanley Cup. Through Beard-A-Thon fans elected to grow a beard themselves or made a financial donation in support of a Capitals player or a fan who chose to grow a playoff beard.
Created in 2000 for players with developmental disabilities, ASHA gives people of all ages and abilities a chance to learn and grow playing hockey. There are currently 50 ASHA programs in more than 30 cities throughout the United States.
ASHA will use the funds to launch new programs, as well as for ASHA regional summer camps, tournaments, festivals and the ASHA Experience program, which helps new players get involved with the organization.
Capitals beard-growers included Karl Alzner, Nicklas Backstrom, Troy Brouwer, Curtis Glencross, Mike Green, Braden Holtby, Michael Latta, Brooks Orpik, Alex Ovechkin, Justin Peters and Joel Ward.
The top Caps fan beard-grower was Arlington native Justin Taft who raised nearly $10,500. Taft has participated in Beard-A-Thon the last three times the Capitals made the playoffs.