Photo: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post
Ted Leonsis, owner of the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics as well as Monumental Sports, recently said he was open to the idea of having the Capitals and Wizards play more games in Baltimore. The Capitals and Wizards both used to host preseason games in the “Charm City”, with the Caps participating in the Baltimore Hockey Classic and the Wizards playing in the Baltimore Basketball Classic. The Capitals participated in 2011 and 2013 preseasons, but the tradition was short-lived.
Mr. Leonsis would like to bring the tradition back, as well as more games. He spoke on Wednesday at the CEO Club of Baltimore and said if the city can replace the old Royal Farms Arena, an arena that’s 55 years old, he would like to host a mix of both preseason and regular season games there.
“Say there is a new arena here, who’s to say you couldn’t play 10 games in Baltimore?” Leonsis said.
The last time the Capitals played in Baltimore was against the Bruins in the 2013 preseason. Capitals players, including Alex Ovechkin, complained about melting ice on the rink.
“You can’t hold the puck. You can’t shoot it and you’re afraid to go to the boards because it’s too dangerous out there,” said Ovechkin.
For the Wizards, their last time playing in Baltimore was Against the Pelicans in the 2014 preseason. There were only 5,100 at that Wizards-Pelicans game, a disappointment considering that a year ago when they hosted Baltimore native Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks, there was a crowd of 12,300 at Royal Farms Arena.
In addition to owning both an NHL and NBA team, Leonsis has also brought in two arena football league teams, one in Washington and the other in Baltimore. The Washington Valor will host the Baltimore Brigade on April 7th at Verizon Center. The Brigade will call Royal Farms Arena home and their first home game will take place a month later.
By Michael Marzzacco