The Washington Capitals helped a young woman from the United Arab Emirates experience the thrill of a lifetime. Fatima Al Ali is a huge fan of the Washington Capitals hockey team. The Capitals found out, and invited Al Ali to come to America and watch the team play as a guest.
Al Ali had lunch with team executives at the UAE embassy and got a chance to meet her favorite players while enjoying her first NHL game. Al Ali even had the opportunity to practice with the team and receive her own personalized journey. CBS, CNN, and PBS attended the practice session.
The Love of the Game
Al Ali says that her love of hockey began threw watching movies such as the Mighty Ducks, Slap Shit and Miracle. Al Ali received her chance to finally play hockey by joining the Abu Dhabi Storms. With the lack of competition in the Middle East, Al Ali stayed close to the game in other ways; by coaching, officiating, and being an equipment manager. Al Ali began to watch NHL games regularly, and studied video on YouTube of NHL stars including the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin. Al Ali was spotted by former Capitals star Peter Bondra while he was in the UAE, and he was immediately impressed. Bondra offered Al Ali the opportunity to attend a Capitals game in Washington DC.
A Dream Come True
Al Ali made the visit to Washington DC, along with her brother Mohammed. They went to a Washington Wizards basketball game before having lunch at the UAE Embassy. Al Ali had the opportunity to meet Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba (learn more), and presented him with a signed hockey jersey on behalf of her team. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba talked about potentially bringing Al Ali’s team to the United States for an exhibition tour. Al Ali also practiced with a local women’s hockey team as well.
Al Ali hopes that this experience will help break barriers and inspire other hockey players from her country. Al Ali calls the experience a dream come true.