The Washington Capitals on Monday named Olympic gold medalist and Rockville native Haley Skarupa as the team’s hockey ambassador, tasked with helping develop and engage with the youth hockey community across Maryland, Virginia and Washington.
In this new role, Skarupa will work with the Capitals’ youth hockey department to drive growth across the sport. According to the team, Skarupa will establish additional female programming that encompasses both street hockey and on-ice sessions, work to enhance the Capitals’ existing initiatives across youth and high school hockey and serve as the team’s core liaison with USA Hockey.
“I’m extremely excited to join the Capitals organization,” Skarupa said in a statement. “I grew up playing hockey in the area, so this opportunity to come back and develop the game around the region is incredibly special. The Capitals have done such an amazing job growing this sport for boys and girls and I’m excited to use my experience and background to continue making a difference in the community and beyond.”
In high school, Skarupa played for both her coed team at Wootton High, in the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League, and the Washington Pride, an all-female college prep team out of D.C. She received a degree in psychology from Boston College, where she played four seasons on the women’s Division I ice hockey team.
“We are excited to welcome Haley as our new Hockey Ambassador to our organization,” Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis said. “Her talent on the ice and her dedication to engaging participants in the sport make her a terrific role model for aspiring athletes. Over the past several years, we have seen a tremendous increase in youth hockey participation across the area and we believe her addition will continue to spur growth among young participants.”
According to USA Hockey data provided by the Capitals, participation in the Washington area has increased over the past five seasons to 22,144 players, coaches and officials.
The Capitals will celebrate the International Ice Hockey Federation World Girls’ Hockey Weekend on Oct. 5, with two free clinics hosted by Skarupa. The clinics will take place at MedStar Capitals Iceplex and are open to female hockey players ages 8 to 18.
Skarupa helped lead the United States win a gold medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. She also played in three International Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships, helping the U.S. to three world championships (2015, 2016, 2017), and competed in three Four Nations Cups (2010, 2014, 2016).
Skarupa was drafted by the National Women’s Hockey League’s New York Riveters with the ninth pick overall in 2015 and has played three seasons in the league.
Most recently, Skarupa served as director of Boston Junior Whalers Hockey, coaching youth hockey players in tournaments in Massachusetts. She also served as a skills development coach for Eagles Elite Sports, coaching youth hockey players in clinics, camps and private skills sessions throughout the New England region.