As we all watched – many of us with tears in our eyes – the Washington Capitals celebrate their Stanley Cup Championship on the ice at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, after their victory in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Finals – many of us were drawn to T.J. Oshie’s words about his Father, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease.You can watch the video where T.J. is being interviewed by ESPN’s Lindsay Czarniak below:
When asked about who this Cup win was for, one of the things T.J. said was: “…for my Dad who has Alzheimer’s, his memory is slipping a little these days, I think this is one memory…this is one memory I don’t think he’ll ever forget…”.
Most of us watched through tears in our eyes as the Washington Capitals were joined by their family members and their loved ones on the ice at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. We watched the embraces and the joy that each of them had as they celebrated with those who meant the most to them. And while they were celebrating on the ice with their loved ones, we were celebrating wherever we were with those who we love the most.
If you are reading this article, it is likely that hockey and the Washington Capitals mean a lot to you. The very first article that I wrote for NoVa Caps in April, 2016 is titled: “So Often, It Starts With My Dad….”. I’d welcome you to read this article, if you haven’t already. You can read it by clicking here.
With the upcoming Father’s Day weekend, we’d love to hear the stories about how your Dad has influenced your passion for hockey – please share them with us in the comments below.
This past week, while I’ve been doing my fair share of celebrating, I’ve also been reminiscing about the 44 years of Capitals’ history and how it’s influenced my life. And while walking through the memories in my mind, I can’t help but think about my family, and my childhood memories of watching the Capitals at the Capital Centre. My story also starts with my Dad and his passion for hockey – originally hailing from Boston, the DMV became his home after graduating from college. He’s one of the original season ticket holders of the Washington Capitals. I was eight in 1974 and I remember the long drives from Fairfax over the Woodrow Wilson bridge in our station wagon to the games. We always parked in the same spot, walked through the same entrance and got popcorn from the same vendor. He was blind, and I remember that if my Dad gave him a $20 bill, he’d raise it up and ask the security guard next to him if it was indeed a $20. The season ticket holders in our section became great friends and it was a bitter sweet time when the Caps made the move from Landover to DC. Often times I’d fall fast asleep on the rides back home from the games, and back then, more often than not, we’d lost the game. I really don’t remember much about living without cheering for the Washington Capitals.
And then, while searching through my memories, I fast forward to the two previous seasons and the devastation of watching along with my sons as the Capitals were eliminated two years in a row by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The pain of those losses, two years in a row – it was devastating for all of “us” – the Washington Capitals and all of their fans. If we only knew then, what the future would hold. Our time was coming, in a season where are expectations were low. We were told, time and time again that our window of opportunity was closed.
Now onto my most recent memories of this year’s playoffs. As the playoffs begain, this time, something felt different – and that feeling in my tummy was due in large part because of something about Ovi. One morning when I was driving my 14 year old son to school, he asked me if I thought Ovi was past his prime. I told him that was a very good question, and that in my opinion – he likely is past his physical prime – still a force to be reckoned with though! However, I believe he is just now reaching his mental prime and has reached a level of maturity that gives him a significant advantage on the ice. That combination of where he is now physically, mentally and maturity can (and did) make all the difference for him and for his teammates in this season’s playoff run. The wisdom that comes to all of us only through age and life’s experiences may have been the winning advantage over the very talented Vegas Golden Knights. And now we know that Ovi and his wife are expecting their first baby! Becoming a Dad can also change the core of who we are!
However, in true Caps’ fashion, they kept us on our toes along with elevated heart rates, throughout the playoff run! I watched most all the playoff games with my boys – the memories of the sixteen wins are numerous – likely extremely similar to yours. Standout moments was of course the final win against Pittsburgh – a feeling of joy and that thousand pound weight we’d been carrying for so very long was finally lifted – this unfamiliar feeling of sheer bliss and attempting to navigate the high of the emotions took some getting used to! We all likely realized that as difficult as it is to go to sleep after being eliminated in round two, it’s nearly impossible to fall asleep after winning and advancing in round two as well!
And then finally, Game Five of the Championship Round, what we know now is the season ending game – where I was so fortunate to get tickets to attend the Capital One Arena Watch Party along with my boys and my brother – and a sold out arena of Caps’ fans – a sea of RED I’d get used to seeing for the next week! That game was about as exciting as it gets – and when the time (finally!) expired from the game clock– my goodness, immense ecstasy – for everyone in attendance inside the area and the tens of thousands watching outside and hundreds of thousands in living rooms and in bars all over the world as well!
With all the emotion we have experienced this past week, and for however long you’ve been a Caps’ fan – yes, it’s about hockey and it’s specifically about our team – but more important than that – it’s about family and friendships and the love we have for one another while sharing in a sport that bonds us together. And just like everything in life – “it’s a journey, and not a destination”. This is why it’s so important to savor these memories and to etch them into our memory banks. We will be sharing the moments of this season for our lifetimes.
I do wish we could stop time for a bit and just continue to feel the feelings of this past week – and while we will rejoice into the summer while watching our boys enjoy their time with the Cup and oh, boy into next season – I can’t wait for us to raise those banners! Stay tuned for the 2018-2019 NHL schedule, coming out on June 21st.
What did Oshie say: “Back to Back” is our new mantra! I wish we could hold this team together – forever! My heart pinged throughout the day yesterday as I was reading through and watching some of the video of the Caps’ exit interviews. In previous years, it was overwhelmingly sad due significantly in part to the early playoff elimination – but this year, it’s the talk about what the future holds for so many of our players – who will be here next season, and who will not.
In closing, we know that our boys on the 2018 Washington Capitals Stanley Cup Championship Team will be forever bonded. And what we also know is that the memories we’ve made, the friendships we developed, the traditions our families have created, we will carry all of these into the future, well into the future. And our passion and love of our Washington Capitals will live on forever and ever.
I am so very proud to be a part of Caps’ Nation – thank you to all of you for being a part of it, too! The journey continues on and so will the memories.
Enjoy the “Silly Season”. Let’s Go Caps!
By Beckie Reilly