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Former Caps star Joel Ward helping to grow hockey through DC's minority youth

Ward helped hold multiple practices on Saturday at the Fort DuPont Ince Arena in Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON — Joel Ward was in D.C. on Saturday to help spread the sport of hockey in the Nation's Capital, doing so by helping out with a street hockey clinic held at the Fort Dupont Ice Arena.

Ward helped coach up the Fort DuPont Cannons, the oldest minority youth hockey program in North America. 

The 39-year-old former NHL right wing was also joined by Hockey Hall of Famer, Niel Henderson, and others that look to help D.C. advance hockey in its minority communities, and across the District as a whole.

"To see more kids of color playing hockey is great," said Ward, who also spoke highly of Henderson and his contributions to D.C.'s hockey culture. 

During his career that almost spanned two decades, Ward, a Canada native, played for four teams in the NHL. These teams included the Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks. 

With the Capitals, Ward appeared in 276 games from 2011 to 2015. 

Ward's best performance with Washington was arguable during the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals versus the Boston Bruins. He scored the series-clinching game-winning goal in overtime to lead the Caps to a 2-1 win in Game 7. 

"This is the grassroots of hockey, we all started out playing ball (stick) hockey," said Ward. "I've had a lot of great moments on the ice. But off the ice is what really has an impact on kids and some in the community. That's what's really rewarding."

Ward retired from hockey in 2019. 

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