Washington Capitals players are no strangers to using their resources for foundations, charities, and community events. Charlie Lindgren was the most recent among the players in red to create a charitable organization, dubbing it “Lindy’s Lineup.” Lindy’s Lineup is an adaptive youth sports program aimed at helping children with disabilities access athletics and the numerous benefits that come along with playing team sports. Children in sports are not only improving their physical health, but are learning important life skills like teamwork, integrity, good sportsmanship, and respect; however, children with physical or mental limitations are often excluded from these types of activities due to inaccessibility, lack of funds, or lack of knowledge among the community. Charlie Lindgren’s wife, Mikkayla, is joining alongside him as this initiative gets underway. Mikkayla has a career background with youth and is currently a pediatric occupational therapist. The Lindgrens created Lindy’s Lineup to make a tangible impact in the DC area by hosting athletic and team sports events for disabled youth, the first among these to be hosted with Nic Dowd and his charitable organization, Dowd’s Crowd.
During the 2022-2023 season, Nic Dowd and his wife, Paige, launched their own initiative to impact the Washington, D.C., community. Dowd’s Crowd focuses on making hockey games more accessible to individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Paige spoke in an interview, saying, “I saw how the day-to-day life of the parents can be challenging, and going to events that would be easy for some parents are more difficult for others. Nic and I wanted to make it a safe environment for kids to be able to enjoy a hockey game.” Many individuals with autism experience sensory overload, which can be triggered by sensations such as bright lights, loud noises, or large crowds– all hallmark features of hockey games. Dowd’s Crowd offers sensory bags to these fans, which include items like sunglasses and noise-cancelling headphones. The initiative also partners with the nonprofit Autism Speaks to connect with local families, provide them with tickets to games, and host a meet-up afterward. Paige Dowd studied to be a speech-language pathologist in school and has a background working with youth on the autism spectrum. The couple also hosts fundraisers as part of their initiative.
On November 20th, Nic Dowd and Charlie Lindgren brought their organizations together, alongside the D.C. area charity So Kids SOAR, to host an adaptive skate for youth with disabilities. So Kids SOAR “provides free adaptive athletic, recreational, and skill-building activities that empower youth with physical and developmental disabilities to Strive, Own, Achieve, and Realize their potential.” This adaptive skate allowed over fifty local children to take the ice by providing noise-canceling headphones to those with sensory overload, ice sleds for individuals with physical limitations, and other adaptations as needed. Of course, Dowd and Lindgren themselves took the ice alongside the families and volunteers from So Kids SOAR, but some other familiar faces joined in on the fun, as well. TJ Oshie, Rasmus Sandin, Hendrix Lapierre, Beck Malenstyn, and Nicolas Aube-Kubel were spotted on the ice, pushing sleds, chatting with families, and even playing goalie while kids took shots at the net. “It’s an awesome opportunity for people to come out here and enjoy what we get to do all the time,” Beck Malenstyn told RMNB. Smiles abounded, and the event was a fantastic start to Lindy’s Lineup and a great team effort from teammates who will continue to make an impact in Washington– both on and off the ice.