WASHINGTON — Neal Henderson is about to become a hockey hall of famer.

The USA Hockey announced Wednesday that Henderson will be part of the 2019 class in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Neal Henderson will be inducted on Dec. 12 in Washington, DC, along with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, former NHL players Tim Thomas and Brian Gionta, and former U.S. Olympic women’s hockey player Krissy Wendell.

Henderson is being recognized for his work spreading the game of hockey in the DC area, and co-founding the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club.

The Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club is known as the oldest minority hockey club in North America.

Henderson’s program helps kids ages 8-18 improve their hockey skills.

The club also helps build a sense of community.

In addition to the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey club, Neal Henderson played a role in the early stages of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone program.

In a statement, Henderson expressed his appreciation for the honor. 

“I am honored to receive this recognition, and I am proud of our work to build a strong and united community around the game of hockey,” said Neal Henderson. “More than 40 years ago, we started the Cannons program to bring hockey to kids in Washington, D.C. who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to play, and now it has turned into something we could not have imagined. Our alumni have become trailblazers in their own right, and the ripple effect of their work stretches far beyond the District. The Cannons inspire me every day with their perseverance, passion, and drive for the sport and I share this honor with them.”

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Capitals owner Ted Leonsis congratulated Henderson on being named to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

“We are fortunate to have an advocate for hockey such as Henderson who consistently brings joy to the sport while sharing his wealth of knowledge with kids,” said Leonsis in a statement. “Henderson’s work with Fort Dupont Ice Arena and D.C.’s minority hockey programs is a vibrant part of our community and he is a true ambassador for the sport of hockey. Moreover, with USA Hockey’s selection of Washington, D.C., as the host city for the 2019 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction celebration event, we are thrilled to celebrate Henderson’s achievements in the community he has so greatly impacted.”

The induction ceremony for the 2019 class of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame is Thursday, December 12, at 7:00pm at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC.