Photo credit: @MSEFndn

On Saturday, Washington Capitals forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer donated their time to DCPS Beautification Day. The event, established in 2005, is an annual citywide spruce-up of select D.C. Public Schools prior to the first day of school. A rad idea, one made even better by the athlete participation.

Backstrom and Brouwer didn’t just hang out and sign autographs for volunteers. They put in work too. The teammates helped paint a giant mural and did some landscaping outside (all the while trying to dodge their more emphatic fans).

Backstrom kept spirits high for one particular volunteer (and RMNB reader), Izzy Roscoe. Izzy, who volunteered at a Caps sponsored clean-up at Fort Dupont last April, got some special help from Nicky B while painting a mural near Neval Thomas Elementary School’s auditorium. Nick shows Izzy his gratitude in a photo they took together.

I’ll let her explain.

My friend Ellen Mulé and I go to as many Washington Capitals events as we can, and community service is no exception. The first time we volunteered was at the Caps/MSE-sponsored Fort Dupont clean-up in April. When we got there, it was announced that Brooks Laich and Joel Ward were going to make a surprise appearance towards the end, so the anticipation was building up as we cleaned off the speed mats and washed the boards. Ward and Brooksy finally arrived and started to sign shirts, chat with everyone, and be all-around great guys. When it was Ellen and my turn, as Laich was signing my sleeve, I noticed what appeared to be some super expensive Ralph Lauren sunglasses hanging from his sweatshirt. I complimented them and told them he should wear them more often because the sun never sets on badass (because it doesn’t). Laughing, he gave them to me so I could try on them, and we took a picture together.



Fast forward to DC beautification day, four months later, and Ellen and I were in the elementary schools auditorium. We had chosen the job of painting the Mystics, Wizards, and Capitals logos on the walls. The day was off to a rough start; with no funnel, we were forced to pour the paint from the cans directly into little cups which resulted in a little of paint in the cups and much more on the floor. Luckily, someone in our group had been smart and put down a drop cloth. I think his name was Scott. After we had almost finished the Capitals logo, which took a surprisingly long time because of all the detailed lettering, Backstrom and Brouwer arrived with the MSE posse and we got introduced. They admired our hard work, we took pictures in front of the logo, and Backstrom even got up on a chair and painted the middle star in the logo. Moving to the other side of the gym, they added onto the Caps other logo, the Weagle, and part of a Wizards logo. It was a quick visit since they had lots of stops to make because all the volunteers were spread out, but Nicky and I got talking about how I had seen him at Kettler a couple days before practicing with Beagle and Carlson, which I think is what broke the ice.

After finishing our jobs, we joined other volunteers in the schools cafeteria for a pizza party where both Caps players showed up again. This time, a short line formed to take pictures with the two and have them autograph the backs of the red volunteer shirts that we had received upon arrival. It was then that I noticed the hat Nicky was wearing was the exact same one my brother, now at Wake Forest, wore, and I’m sure still wears, every single day. I knew that he would think it was awesome that Backstrom had the same hat, so I wanted to make sure the hat was in the picture. Then Ellen and I thought it would be even better if the hat was not only in the picture, but was on my head. Brooksy had let me wear his sunglasses, would Backstrom be as cool with lending me his hat? It was already practically a tradition to take a picture with one of their accessories. Ellen and I stepped up to the two where I gave Nicky my proposition.

“Hey Backstrom, do you think I could wear your hat? Brooks Laich let me wear his sunglasses when we took a pic.”

Brouwer laughed and Backstrom asked back “You want to wear my hat?” and took it off. He then asked if I had anything weird in my hair, to which I promptly responded no, and he smiled and gave it to me. When I put it on, it was pretty much down to my nose, but it made for a great picture and a great day.


My brother did say the picture was sick after I texted it to him.

It sure is.

  • PleaseKillMe

    Troy is about 6’2 – 6’3 and the guy in the middle is towering over him. Let’s get that guy on some skates.

  • I’m pretty sure Glen Rice, Jr. would be horrible at ice hockey. Unrelated: I once scored 163 points in a single game with his father playing Tecmo Basketball.

  • PleaseKillMe

    Ah, I didn’t notice that was him. My Wizards days are fading away fast.