Fort Dupont Ice Arena Successfully Meets Fundraising Goal Needed to Construct Two-Rink Facility in Anacostia

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Excitement is in the air at Fort Dupont Ice Arena! On Sunday, the local rink’s Board of Directors announced that Friends of Fort Dupont (FFD) raised $1,309,610, which surpassed the dollar amount needed to construct the new two-rink facility at their Anacostia site. Their purpose is to inspire and educate youth through hockey, skating, and other on-ice programs.

FFD Board Chairman Willem Polak sent D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser a letter informing the city about the organization’s successful fundraising campaign. Below is a portion of that letter:

“Last year, the District and the Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena (FFD) agreed on how to proceed with the construction of the long-awaited new, two rink arena at our Anacostia site. When finalized in the District’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget, FFD needed to raise $1,300,000 to begin the construction phase of the new rink. I am pleased, and thankful, to confirm that FDIA has now raised $1,309,610 from over 400 supporters with contributions ranging from $5 to $250,0000! The kids will get their new rink!”

Initiating the solicitation for the construction and reviewing the design to set a final, budgeted design alongside the engagement of Fort Dupont Ice Arena (FDIA) are the next steps with the city.

FDIA is the only full-size indoor ice rink in Washington, D.C. According to the city’s $25 million commitment, FDIA had to raise $5 million. Construction of a new, expanded rink would begin once the local arena raises $1.3 million of the $5 million, which has been accomplished.

Located in Ward 7 in Southeast D.C., FDIA is “home ice” for eight District schools’ hockey teams, including the Fort Dupont Cannons. Founded in 1978, the Cannons are the oldest minority youth hockey program in North America and is a member of the “Hockey Is For Everyone” initiative. The mission is to teach young people self-esteem, discipline, a sense of purpose, and to offer an incentive to excel academically. U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Neal Henderson coaches the team.

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FDIA provides Kids On Ice® (KOI) programs, which include learning how to skate, ice hockey, advanced and synchronized figure skating, speed skating and off-ice training for children ages 5-18. Additionally, the rink provides skates, equipment, and skating apparel to all who need them.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) Chairman and CEO Ted Leonsis and family and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman partnered to raise awareness and commit funds to support FDIA. The NHL, MSE and Leonsis family each donated $100,000, for a total of $300,000, with the goal of raising the first $500,000 toward the monies needed for the renovation of the rink.

FFD gives a special thanks to Bridgestone Americas, Capitol Skating Fund, Casey Trees, the Congressional Hockey Challenge, Gonzaga College High School, the Leonsis Family, Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, National Hockey League, Walter A. Bloedorn Foundation, and the Washington Capitals.

The Capitals organization has been involved with the community at FDIA for many years. Defensemen Nick Jensen and Jonas Siegenthaler participated in a practice with the Cannons in February and former defenseman Brooks Orpik helped out with exterior and interior maintenance in June last summer. Recently, Capitals alumnus Joel Ward was back in the District and took part in a street hockey clinic with local children including Fort Dupont Cannons players.

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter who earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2021. She comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for hockey in 2019. In her spare time, Della enjoys traveling, cooking, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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