- The Washington Times - Monday, June 8, 2020

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and his wife Brandi Holtby announced an auction called “Get Off the Bench for Racial Equality,” in which fans can bid on items signed by Holtby and other Capitals players with proceeds benefitting Black Lives Matter D.C. and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

The Holtbys are also donating $5,000 to both organizations.

Fans can find the auction online at events.handbid.com/auctions/holtby and bid on items through Friday.

In addition to pucks, a jersey and a piece of wood artwork all autographed by Holtby, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and John Carlson signed some items up for bid. There’s also a jersey signed by the entire team, with the opening bid at $500 Monday morning.

Holtby put out a statement on social media last Wednesday speaking out against racism and “inhumane, hate based, racial crimes” following the death of George Floyd that caused unrest around the country. He followed it up with comments to reporters Friday.

“I think you know that I’m not very active on the social media scene or anything, but I’ve been just following along the news and such that and what’s been going on in the country,” he said, “and it’s something that I’ve been passionate about for a while just trying to educate myself and learn as much as I can to not be so naïve, especially as a kid growing up in a small town in Canada where the situations that are showing themselves today I never dealt with.”

Holtby has taken stances on social issues before. He has marched in the District’s Pride Parade and declined the invitation to join his team in visiting President Trump in the White House to celebrate Washington’s Stanley Cup victory.

On Friday, Holtby said that hockey was “behind as a sport” in taking on issues of racism and social justice. He also addressed the supposed criticism that he is Canadian, not American, saying the U.S. was his home now and his children are American because they were born in the country.

“In Canada, we have indigenous rights and racism that way,” Holtby said. “I grew up around that, but this is different, so I needed to educate myself and still need to. I believe how my parents did the right thing in teaching us in our situation. I learned a lot from them and Brandi as well, and now we’re just trying to take our knowledge we’ve learned in a different culture and try to teach our kids that way.”

• Adam Zielonka can be reached at azielonka@washingtontimes.com.

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