In the time since we’ve started NoVa Caps (last June), the members of the group have expanded well beyond the limits of Northern Virginia, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and even the United States. Group members now reside in numerous other countries, including Australia. I asked one of our Australian fans , Toby Sutton, to shed some light on what it’s like to be a Washington Capitals fan in the “land down under”.
Believe me, in the time since I’ve connected with Toby, it’s become pretty clear that this guy is a hard core Caps fan. Even though his hometown of Melbourne, Australia is in a time zone 15 hours ahead of Washington, D.C., Toby not only follows all of the games, but stays well informed regarding the Caps. In fact, I’ve often found myself this past season exchanging messages with Toby during quite a few games.
I had to know…how does an Australian become a fan of the Washington Capitals?”
“It would have been around 2006 when I was staying at a friend’s place and he had an old Xbox so we decided to go hire some games. He suggested NHL ’07 as there was fighting and you could smash the glass. Not seeing any hockey at all besides the mighty ducks movies I wasn’t really aware of the sport and what it had to offer. So we played for a few hours and just picked random teams. My mate always chose The Ducks most of us know why. As I was playing for a bit I decided that I should pick a team and follow them as I enjoy all sports and had just discovered my new love in life. Looking through the teams it was a decision of who had the most cool looking logo, the Sharks and Devils were strong contenders. I then came across Washington and thought why not just look for a good team instead of what their logo looks like. I had a look at the roster and saw the name of Alexander Semin. Now being a 16 year old at the time we thought it was hilarious so Washington it was. I went home and thought I better check these guys out on YouTube and see if I can watch some more hockey. I saw Alex Ovechkin highlights and was just blown away by the skill and speed and the freakiness of the “Rad Russian”! I am going to meet this guy one day! Haven’t looked back since.”
How do you follow the team?
“While at school in 2006 and not having access to smart phones the only way to see scores was on the computers during class or looking in the newspaper which was a small section in the back pages. On weekends it was a different story I would listen to them via the NHL website which was a pretty good way to start the weekend if you ask me. We didn’t have access to cable TV either so I would always be bugging my father to get cable just so I could watch hockey. Our cable TV in those days didn’t show much hockey anyway except for an occasional game or two during the week, but never any Washington games. They were either Toronto or Anaheim or even Florida”.
“As I grew up more access to games came about. Torrent sites, the rare live stream and catching the rare game on cable TV. As I grew older I had to get myself a Jersey to rock the red so I decided I would get an Ovechkin Jersey. I would wear it all the time and most nights I would watch Ovechkin highlight videos, especially when he scored the hat trick in Game 2 against the Penguins. Before the lockout season I would listen to games on the way to work then watch highlights when I finished. It was good having access to the work wifi to fuel my hockey addiction. When the lockout finished Gamecentre had a cheap deal of $50 for the season and I thought you know what I have an Xbox I can just watch games on there so I would watch as many games as I could. The next season it came to renewing and I didn’t hesitate at all in buying it as it was money well spent the previous season. Nowadays I watch games at work on my phone or my tablet. If work is busy and I wouldn’t be able to catch games I would stay off social media all day and watch the replay when I got home. Weekends are the best as I can just wake up put my jersey on and sit and enjoy the game live”.
“Game 6 against the Islanders this playoff season was a memorable one not because we lost but it was 4am here in Australia and I was up and ready for the game as soon as my alarm went off. The Maccas brekky went down pretty well for the second period. Now as I sit here reminiscing, I am itching for season 15/16 to start and cannot wait for what it has to offer. I’m hoping we can finally get past the second round and Ovechkin can finally lift Lord Stanley’s Cup. I will be cheering loud and proud Down Under! Let’s Go Caps!!”