The Washington Capitals and Athletes Against Autism hosted their second annual Autism Awareness Night at the Caps game against the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday, Jan. 6, at Verizon Center. Ticket sales, a special meet and greet opportunity, and a silent auction helped raise more than $30,000 for the fight against autism.
The silent auction featured game-used equipment from Athletes Against Autism members Olie Kolzig and Alex Ovechkin, as well as many other players who supported the night. Items included goaltender Olie Kolzig's pads, catching glove, blocker and stick; left wing Alex Ovechkin's helmet and stick; captain Chris Clark's helmet and stick; left wing Alexander Semin's stick; left wing Matt Pettinger's helmet; and left wing Donald Brashear's stick. The auction raised $21,950 for Athletes Against Autism, an initiative of Cure Autism Now that was founded by Kolzig to raise awareness and funds for autism research, treatment and family support programs.
The evening began with an on-ice pre game ceremony honoring Kolzig for his commitment to the community, re-presenting the 2006 King Clancy Award that Kolzig received from the NHL in June for his extensive volunteer work, including his involvement with the autism community. The evening's special events also included a check presentation to Athletes Against Autism and two American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) mini-games during intermission.
A portion of the proceeds from all tickets purchased through a link on the Capitals' website and special flier was donated in support of autism research. Olie Kolzig also hosted a group of generous donors that helped to support the evening and enjoyed the game from a luxury suite.
This was the first of many Autism Awareness Nights that Athletes Against Autism is coordinating with professional sports teams across the country. For more information on events coming to your city, please click here.