Special reunion awaits Caps’ Ward in Nashville

Ben Raby, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – There are only so many things a visiting hockey player can do on a given road trip. Much of these trips are spent in arenas and hotels with the possibility of some shopping or dining out if time permits.

But with the Capitals in Nashville for Tuesday night’s game against the Predators (7:30 p.m. Pregame on WFED 1500 AM), Caps forward and former Predator Joel Ward will make the most of his limited down time.

Following the Capitals morning skate at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, Ward will cab 2.6 miles to LEAD Academy, a public charter school that serves 5th-to 9th graders.

Among the students at LEAD Academy is ninth grader Malik Johnson. Ward first met Johnson two years ago while volunteering with the Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee.

“It was something I wanted to do to give back to Nashville,” Ward said of becoming a Big Brother. “They were very supportive of me and I thought maybe it was a way I could help an individual a little bit.”

Ward was immediately matched with Johnson and the two have remained in touch ever since. With the Caps making only one regular-season visit to Nashville this year,

Ward is making it a point to see his little brother even if that means tracking him down in school.

“It’s going to be good for myself to get a chance to see him and take a look at his school and try to catch up with him and see how he’s making out.

“We try to speak as often as we can. It’s obviously a little different now with our schedules but we try to catch up a couple of times a week. When I was there we hung out a couple of days a week whether it was going to the


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