I get excited when the Washington Capitals tweet about the latest episode of Between Two Blue Lines, forwards Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway‘s podcast. In fact, the Capitals are the first NHL team to have players create their own podcast series. Between Two Blue Lines has generated nearly 35,300 listens just through 10 episodes since the October launch.
In a recent article by Front Office Sports, Capitals’ manager of digital media, Zach Guerette, said podcasts had been a “back-burner item” over the last few years. When Dowd and Hathaway pitched the podcast idea, they received positive feedback and decided to give it a try.
The two forwards are newer members of the team. In July 2018, Dowd signed with the Capitals, and Hathway came to Washington one year later. “Nic and I started talking, and it seemed like we had a good relationship,” Hathway said. “Once we found out that there was an opportunity to start a podcast, we realized that – first off, it would be a great way to get the fans some insight into what is inside the locker room. And, a little selfishly, we had a lot of fun with it just bantering back and forth.”
Between Two Blue Lines isn’t your typical hockey podcast as this is hosted by the players. “We honestly talk about the on-ice part of the game very minimally – we try to focus solely on personality and lifestyle content,” Guerette said. Guerette also mentioned how inside jokes such as nicknames, Secret Santa gifts, or Halloween parties are “strong points” of the podcast.
Since the debut last October, the focus is geared towards their personal lives instead of their professional jobs. Dowd discusses the experiences of being a first-time father and Hathaway chats about balancing family and hockey. Special guests have appeared on the podcast, which include defenseman Radko Gudas in Episode 4 and goaltender Braden Holtby in Episode 10.
Dowd described the podcast as an “intimate” experience. “We want to bring the fans a little bit of awareness in our daily lives. It’s a close-knit community of hockey players, and it gives the fans a sneak peek into what we do and our families.”
Even with the league on pause, the podcast is still being recorded through Zoom at their respective homes and produced. Between Two Blue Lines has generated nearly 35,300 listens just through those 10 episodes— 1,250 Spotify followers, 1,330 iTunes subscribers, and 160 Soundcloud followers, according to Front Office Sports.
Power Up, a D.C.-based snacks brand specializing in trail mix, nuts, and spices is the presenting partner for the podcast. Dowd and Hathaway munch on trail mix and discuss favorite flavors in some episodes. Dennis Peters, Director of Marketing at Power Up’s parent company Gourmet Nuts, appreciates the Capitals’ players “genuine” chemistry. He added, “It can flow pretty naturally, and these guys have that kind of personality where they delivered it really genuinely, and you can tell they actually loved the product, which is just worth a million dollars.”
Dowd and Hathaway are thankful for the team allowing them to do the podcast and have that creative control. NHL Chief Content Officer, Steve Mayer, applauds the Capitals’ organization for their efforts, which he says is the “biggest factor” for success.
Between Two Blue Lines is inspiring other NHL teams to host podcasts, especially in light of the league’s pause. The idea and goal are to continue the engagement with fans. Mayer concluded by saying, “The Capitals are always looking at what’s next. Whether it’s content, whether it’s innovation, they’re amazing in that respect, and also groundbreaking. Sometimes it just takes one to then [create a] domino effect around the league. Without great knowledge, I would expect that other teams are taking notice of what Washington has done, and I think they will be soon to follow with going to their players to do this.”
By Della Young