As Washington Capitals’ fans will vividly recall, the members of the Washington Capitals had a summer-long epic celebration when the franchise won its first Stanley Cup in 2018, one that took place over the period of several days following the club’s victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. Aiding the magnitude of the celebrations was the schedule of when events occurred, including the time interval between the Caps’ winning the Cup and the Stanley Cup parade, along with the time interval between the Stanley Cup parade and the NHL Awards Ceremony in Vegas. In this piece, NoVa Caps’ Diane Doyle review the events and highlight comparisons with other Championship celebrations, including the St. Louis Blues’ Stanley Cup celebration of 2019 and the Washington Nationals’ World Series victory celebration of 2019.
Timeline of Washington Capitals Celebration
Thursday, June 7 – Capitals Win Stanley Cup
The fifth game of the Stanley Cup Final was played on June 7, starting at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, so that it could it be viewed at 8:00 PM on the East Coast, although, in reality, it started later than that, due to the various pregame ceremonies. The game ended at approximately 8:30 p.m. Pacific Time (11:30 Eastern Time). The Caps held a post-game celebration in the locker room and a post-game dinner at the hotel, but after those private celebrations, traveled to the nearby Hakkasan Nightclub where DJ Tiesto was performing. The celebration continued until the wee hours of the morning. After that, they returned to their hotel to catch a few winks, a not-entirely successful endeavor.
Friday, June 8 – Capitals Return Home and Hold Party at Don Tito’s Mexican Restaurant
The Caps flew back home from Vegas with the Stanley Cup in tow and arrived at Dulles Airport at 5:00 p.m. While en-route, the players and staff partook of liberal quantities of adult beverages. After arriving home, the team held a party at Don Tito’s Mexican Restaurant.
Saturday, June 9 – Capitals Attend Nationals Game, then travel to Georgetown Waterfront, and Other Assorted Destinations
The Capitals took the Stanley Cup to an afternoon game at Nationals Park, where Alex Ovechkin threw out the first pitch, getting two opportunities to do so followed by the entire rosters of both the Nationals and the Capitals posing for a group picture with the Stanley Cup on both the pitchers’ mound and in the locker room. The Caps enjoyed the game in a suite and periodically held the Cup high for the fans to see.
After the game, they went to Nick’s Barside Grill on the waterfront in Georgetown, where Ovechkin did his famous keg stand with the Stanley Cup. Afterwards, Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, and T.J. Oshie jumped into a fountain in the area and started swimming. Many of the team had dinner at Café Milano in Georgetown, where they encountered [First Daughter] Ivanka Trump. More celebrating took place that night, with Jakub Vrana, Braden Holtby, T.J. Oshie, Brett Connolly, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Andre Burakovsky going to a tattoo parlor and getting celebratory Stanley Cup tattoos.
The party continued at St. Yves, a club in downtown Washington, where several players partied through the wee hours of the morning.
Sunday, June 10 – More Parties in the Evening, Barbecue, Boat, and Coaches
On this day, the Stanley Cup was transported to Capital One Arena, where longtime season ticket holders could get a picture taken with the Cup. However, Ovechkin had the team over to his house for a barbecue and they drank wine from commemorative bottles left over from the Winter Classic three years prior.
Some other players, including Andre Burakovsky, held a party on a boat that they caught at the Wharf in Southeast. Meanwhile, then-Head Coach Barry Trotz and the other Capitals coaches held a party in the evening with the Stanley Cup was also in attendance.
Monday, June 11 – Ovechkin and Holtby Go to New York City
On this day, the Stanley Cup was at MedStar Capitals IcePlex, where more season ticket holders were able to get a picture taken with the Cup,. Ovechkin and Braden Holtby then traveled to New York to appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Tuesday, June 12 – Capitals Stanley Cup Parade
This day marked the team’s first ever Stanley Cup parade, in which the players and coaches rode on tour buses for the parade route. The players were drinking beer while the parade took place and at the team rally afterward.
Wednesday, June 20 — NHL Awards Ceremony
On this day, the Stanley Cup was in Las Vegas for the 2018 Awards Ceremony. Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were both in attendance.
Timeline of St. Louis Blues Celebration
Wednesday, June 12 – Blues Win Stanley Cup And Return Home
The seventh game of the Stanley Cup Final was played on June 12, starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, although, in reality, it started later than that, due to the various pregame ceremonies. The game ended at approximately 11:00 p.m. The Blues had a post-game celebration on ice and then in the locker room. Some pictures of the post-game celebration and the flight back to St. Louis can be found here. The Blues landed at Lambert Airport shortly after 4:00 a.m.
Thursday, June 13 – Blues Celebrate at OB Clark’s In Brentwood
After disembarking from the plane, the Blues went to Enterprise Center to meet with Blues fans.
The Blues celebrated their first day as champions at OB Clark’s, a bar in Brentwood, Missouri, known for being a favorite of current and former St. Louis Blues players, with the Stanley Cup in attendance, as were many alumni. While the bar wasn’t open to the general public, many fans showed up so they could have a glance at the champions. Team members hoisted the Cup on the outdoor patio area while fans cheered on the parking lot below.
Friday, June 14 – Blues Go To Budweiser Factory and then Celebrate at a Downtown Bar
With the Stanley Cup in hand, the Blues stopped at the Budweiser factory in St. Louis where they planned to brew a commemorative beer in honor of their championship. It was brewed in Tank 104, where the Blues posed in front, after consuming the brewery’s product. The Blues celebrated at a downtown bar, where they reportedly danced on the wooden counter, shirtless and drenched in alcohol, while surrounded by many admirers.
Saturday, June 15 — Blues Stanley Cup Parade
The St. Louis Blue championship parade took place on Market Street, starting at 18th St. & Market St. and ending at Broadway & Market St. The rally took place afterwards at the Gateway Arch. The parade was notable for several players interacting with fans along the way. An account of the parade can be found here, along with pictures. The players drank copious amounts of beer.
Wednesday, June 19 — NHL Awards Ceremony
The Stanley Cup was taken to the 2019 NHL Awards Ceremony. Ryan O’Reilly, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, was in attendance at the ceremony.
The Capitals were able to celebrate their Stanley Cup win in 2018 for a much longer time frame than the Blues could the following year. There were four full days between the day the Caps clinched the Cup and when they held their parade, while there were just two full days between the Blues’ Cup clinching and their parade.
The Capitals’ parade was likely held the following Tuesday so as to avoid conflicts with the Washington Nationals’ schedule as the Washington Nationals were in the midst of a home-stand when the Caps clinched their championship. It was best to schedule the parade at a time when there would not be a concern about the traffic resulting from a Nationals’ game or any other major sporting or competing event. In contrast, St Louis’ baseball team, the Cardinals, were in the midst of a long road trip when the Blues clinched so there was no competing traffic concern on that front. The Blues did bring the Cup to Busch Memorial Stadium on June 22, at a time when several members of the team had either already left town or had scheduled surgery.
By winning the Stanley Cup in just five games, the Capitals had more time between the final game and the NHL Awards Ceremony than the Blues did. The Blues, by taking the series to the maximum seven games, had only a week between their final game and the NHL Awards Ceremony so all celebrating, including the parade, had to be compressed in just one week. The Caps, by clinching in the Pacific Time Zone, had more time to celebrate after the game that same day. The fact they had four full days between their clinching and their parade meant they had five full days of celebrating, to include the parade. The Blues had just two days between their clinching and their parade, and thus, had just three days.
The Nationals’ partying schedule was more like the Blues, as they won their championship on a Wednesday and had the parade on that same Saturday, during which time they had just two days to party in between.
Thus, the stars (the schedule) had aligned perfectly for an epic Capitals championship celebration.
By Diane Doyle