A Fan’s Guide to the Washington Capitals’ Practice Facility – Kettler Capitals Iceplex

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Interested in attending training camp? Want to check out a Caps practice? We’ve put together some general information to assist you in your planning. The fan guide provides the basics, but should you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to NoVa Caps at novacapsfans@gmail.com. 

Kettler Capitals Iceplex is located at 627 North Glebe Road, Arlington, Virginia. The front desk is open 7:30am to 9:30pm daily. You may also reach them via phone at 571-224-0555 or visit them on their website.


Photo: Kettler Capitals Iceplex

A QUICK HISTORY AND OVERVIEW
After years of having their training camp in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and practicing in Piney Orchard, Maryland, Washington Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis decided his team needed an updated facility to call home. So in 2006, with the help of dedicated builders, Leonsis constructed a state of the art complex that became Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Kettler Capitals Iceplex houses two ice rinks, a weight room, training rooms, offices for Capitals staff, eight locker rooms, a lounge area, seating for 1,200, a video room, a team store, a pro shop, and a cafe. What makes it unique is that it is situated on the eighth-level of the Ballston Mall parking garage in Arlington, Virginia. It is the highest ice rink in the United States, is the home rink for several college club teams, and plays host to numerous youth teams throughout the year.  Kettler is a must-see for any Capitals fan. Here is everything you need to know about the best practice facility in the NHL.

PARKING
The ice complex is situated at the top of the parking garage on level 8. The parking garage can be accessed from either Randolph Street or North Glebe Road. Parking space is abundant at Kettler. Cars may park in the Ballston Public Parking Garage on levels 3-8. The top-level usually has open spaces, but during popular Caps events parking there may be limited. Parking is ultra-affordable:

Less than 3 hours: $1
Less than 4 hours: $3
Less than 5 hours: $5
Less than 6 hours: $6
Less than 7 hours: $7
Less than 8 hours: $8
Maximum daily Rate: $10

PLAYER ACCESS/AUTOGRAPHS
Kettler is one of the best places to get autographs and pictures with your favorite players. After most practices, players can be found signing autographs. Fans can stand inside at the gate to the players/media only area or outside at the players’ exit of the Washington Capitals building and wait for players to exit the facility. The players are happy to take a photo or sign an autograph, so don’t hesitate to ask, but please be courteous to the players and understanding of their time commitments.

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TEAM STORE/PRO SHOP
Kettler houses two shops – at team store and a pro shop. The team store is dedicated to fan apparel and souvenirs and is the best place to find car decals, hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys, and even a Slapshot of your very own. Kettler customizes blank jerseys and they also have jerseys of the team members already made. The pro shop is dedicated to player equipment such as pads, skates, sticks, stick tape, etc. It is located on the upper level of the facility. Kettler is the go-to destination for any fan looking for the perfect gift.

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FOOD/DRINK
The Caps Café offers a various assortment of foods, bakery items, and drinks. It is located on the main floor of the Kettler facility. There are other dining options available within a short walk –

Just a block further are –

GOING TO A CAPS PRACTICE FOR THE FIRST TIME? HERE’S WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

If you want to come to a Caps practice or have been to one and don’t understand what’s going on, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, two of the things you’ll learn are what the colors of the practice uniforms mean and the length and  difference between practices and morning skates.

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For starters, if you’ve parked on the top level of the garage, you’ll see the Washington Capitals building on the right and the Kettler Capitals Iceplex to the left. The doors into the Washington Capitals building are restricted to members of the team and those who work for the Capitals. The doors in to the Kettler Capitals Iceplex are for the general pubic. Once you walk in you’ll see the team store and the Capitals rink to your right and the public rink and the Caps Café to your left. There’s also an upstairs level where you can get a nice view of both rinks. The pro shop is also located upstairs for those who want to purchase hockey equipment. If you parked on a different level of the garage, you can enter right into the facility through the elevators near the end.

As to the practices, they typically last up to an hour. The practice schedule varies depending on when the next game is, travel back home from road games, etc. From the NoVa Caps home page (www.NoVaCaps.com) you can click the red “Caps Today” button in the upper right hand corner to be taken directly to the Capitals PR website where you will find the most up-to-date, weekly schedule for Caps practices. You may also access the schedules directly at CapitalsToday.com and by following them on Twitter @CapitalsPR.

For practices, the Capitals use both the public rink and the Capitals rink. They start on the public rink and practice there for a half hour before changing to the Capitals rink to continue their drills. For morning skates, which take place on the morning of Capitals home games,  the Caps only use the Capitals rink and the official session takes a half hour, but players start arriving on the ice 15-30 minutes before it begins.

Did you know that the color of the practice jersey a player is wearing means something?

Red = Top six forwards
White = Bottom six forwards
Navy Blue = Defensemen
Light Blue = Non contact

The goalies are in red jerseys on each end of the ice. In the Capitals rink, if you are watching from the bleachers, the starter’s net is on your right. That is Braden Holtby’s usual home. The backup goalie is on the other side. There is even significance to which goalie leaves the ice first – the first goalie to leave the ice following a morning skate will get the start in that night’s game.

OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS

Staying nearby is never a problem. There are a few hotels to choose from within walking distance of Kettler Capitals Iceplex  –

  • The Residence Inn Arlington Ballston – 650 N. Quincy St – (703) 310-1999
  • The Westin Arlington Gateway – 801 N Glebe Rd · (703) 717-6200
  • Holiday Inn Arlington At Ballston – 4610 N. Fairfax Dr · (703) 243-9800
  • Hilton Arlington – 950 N Stafford St ·  (703) 528-6000

DIRECTIONS
Kettler Capitals Iceplex is located at 627 North Glebe Road, Arlington, Virginia.

Driving
Here is a link to Mapquest so that you can get directions from your starting point.

Metro
Kettler is one block from the Ballston Metro stop (at the corner of Fairfax and Stuart Streets), located on the Orange and Silver Lines.

Map
A map of the local area is available here.

Additional Reading:
Happy 10th Birthday, Washington Capitals and Kettler Capitals Iceplex

By Debbie Pierce, Michael Marzzacco, & Michael Fleetwood

This entry was posted in Community, Dining and Entertainment, Fans, News, Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

78 Responses to A Fan’s Guide to the Washington Capitals’ Practice Facility – Kettler Capitals Iceplex

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