The 2018 NHL Stadium Series marked my 3rd Washington Capitals outdoor game experience. I was very fortunate to be able to attend the Stadium Series event in Annapolis with family and friends over the weekend.
The NHL did a very good job with the pageantry and presentation during the game. The Naval Academy was a wonderful host for the outdoor game, and it was great to see the NHL recognized members of the military throughout the evening. In addition to the many military members that were recognized, the NHL also recognized the U.S.A. Olympians from the Women’s Hockey team and U.S.A. curling team that won the gold medal in PyeongChang. This was a wonderful highlight in the evening.
— NHL (@NHL) March 4, 2018
PARKING AND TAILGATING
I have visited many college and NFL venues in my lifetime. I love to tailgate, and I love to be around the atmosphere that a normal football game brings. The Naval Academy parking and tailgating experience was about average.
Our group parked close by to where our section was, which was nice because we did not have to walk too far to get to and from the stadium. There were parking lots surrounding the stadium, but the lots were tight, and each vehicle was close together. The lanes inside the parking lot were tight, and it made everyone that was tailgating very bunched up.
INSIDE THE STADIUM
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is an older football facility, so it was expected that there would not be all the luxury amenities of today. The bathrooms and concourses were a bit small, and were probably the worst part of the whole Stadium Series experience.
Despite small bathrooms and concourses, I felt that the seats were very comfortable and spacious. The stadium sight lines were also very good, and I did not feel that there was a seat in the house that had a bad view of the playing surface. In addition to the sight lines, I applaud the NHL’s use of an aircraft carrier as a scenic surrounding of the rink.
STADIUM SERIES “LIGHT-GATE”
For some in the crowd, the lights going out in the 3rd period might have been an annoyance. For me, I thought it was one of the highlights of the game.
— NHL (@NHL) March 4, 2018
The Capitals were up 5-2 at this point in the game halfway through the 3rd period, so the hometown crowd was naturally in a happy mood. After a long day of tailgating, many in the crowd were singing, dancing, and using their cellphones as a flashlight. If you are a WWE fan like I am, you felt like you were experiencing a Bray Wyatt entrance while the lights were dim and everyone used their phones as a flashlight.
OUTDOOR GAMES ARE WORTH THE EXPERIENCE
After a third outdoor game experience, I can honestly say it was well worth it again. The game was fun, and had a great atmosphere. Fans of both teams embraced the celebration of hockey, but most importantly, embraced the tie-in to the military.
I have said it many times and I will say it again. Going to an outdoor hockey game is a unique experience, and each experience is very different. Whether you are a diehard hockey fan or just someone who casually follows, traveling to an outdoor hockey game is well worth it. At the very least, if you are not a diehard hockey fan, go for the tailgating experience. I highly recommend the experience to anyone.
By: George Foussekis