For many years, the Washington Capitals have offered Hockey and Heels, which features activities for female Caps fans, and sponsored by Club Scarlet. This year was no different. Many years, tickets would sell out before the end of the work day. However, I have been fortunate to attend the last three, including this year’s.
Fans check in and are divided into different color coded groups, who rotate between each of the different activity stations. I was placed in the Blue group and received a blue wrist band, with a number. Past years usually featured a posed picture with a current Capital but this year’s twist was to pose in a photo booth style picture. The player posing with the fans this year was Aaron Ness. Fans could also include props in the picture, as well, including large dollar signs, cardboard posters of large sunglasses, and a variety of other props. The photographer would take two pictures and, afterwards, gave each person (or group) a post card sized picture that included both photos. Another activity, new this year, was broomball on the ice where fans took turns playing broomball games with either Evgeny Kuznetsov or Stanislav Galiev. Small groups would be escorted onto the ice to play on (or against) either Kuznetsov or Galiev. I ended up on a team with Kuznetsov who displayed his great puck handling skills, even with the broomball. A few fans managed to obtain selfies with either Kuznetsov or Galiev, after their broomball scrimmage. A complete galley of the evening’s event can be found on the Scarlet Caps page here:
Similar to previous years, fans would take their turn as goalie where they would wear the blocker glove and catching glove and try to stop rubber pucks, being shot by Caps alumnus, Silvain Cote. Phillipp Grubauer was the goalie instructor this year. This activity was named “Beast Mode” in honor of Braden Holtby. Another activity from previous years included this year was shooting the puck at the net. This year, it was titled “Slapshot Shooting”. Fans would get shooting instructions from one of two Caps alumni, either Paul Mulvey or Errol Rausse. This year’s session confirmed the fact that shooting left-handed feels more “natural” to me, even though I do most other activities, right-handed. I believe I had shot left-handed in previous years, and reasonably competently, but my attempt to even hold the stick right-handed did not feel natural at all. Hence, I went with the left-handed shot.
There was also an extended question and answer period with Coach Barry Trotz who talked accountability and establishing a family atmosphere with the team. He answered some pre-established questions, along with taking questions from the audience. In response to one question, he told the story of how he had hired Mitch Korn to be his goaltending coach with the Nashville Predators. There was also a question and answer period with a pair of officials, one who had grown up as a Caps fan and refereed Caps’ scrimmages at training camp. There was also a question and answer session with Caps’ broadcasters, Craig Laughlin and Joe Beninati. Courtney Laughlin, Craig’s daughter, who currently works at CSN, was also present, as the moderator.
Prior to the activities, guests would eat food catered by Eco Caterers, who cater food for the Caps. Tonight’s menu included kebobs with shrimp and pineapples, burritos containing a combination of chicken, rice, and beans, veggie burritos, tortilla chips, and a slice of banana break. Drinks available including water, wine and beer. Although the wine and beer were not available until about midway through the evening.
At the end of the night, fans got a gift – a Caps themed wine stopper, where the Caps logo was the same one on the third jersey.
It was a good night in all, meeting many other fans, along with the players, alumni, and other personnel associated with the team.
By Diane Doyle
Photos by Stephanie Judge
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