For those who weren’t aware, this is Hockey Weekend Across America, and the DC region is covering its bases well.
First and foremost are the official USA Hockey events going on. Friday was “Wear a Jersey to Work” day (some of us did, some didn’t. I will admit to rocking a rarely-sees-the-light-of-day Brent Seabrook third jersey this year, much to the amusement of the men I scorekeep for). On Saturday, Herbert Wells Ice Rink offered a free introductory clinic for anyone ages 18 & under who was interested in the sport of Hockey. Gear, advice, and ice time were all offered free of charge. It’s a move that segues well into the Caps@School program that the Caps already have going in conjunction with schools in Maryland, Virginia, and the District.
In addition, several rinks have taken advantage of the 3-day weekend to host hockey tournaments the Bowie Hockey Club is hosting a President’s Day Tournament that is taking part across three different arenas in the area. Kettler Capitals Iceplex (in conjunction with arenas in Ashburn and Reston) is hosting the latest installment Congressional Cup series, which has participants at the Squirt, Pee-Wee, and Bantam levels. Last year, Kettler played host to the ACCHL Championship Tournament.
Another regional option for savoring and broadening exposure to hockey was a trip organized by the Front Page Arlington (FPA), which bills itself as Washington’s unofficial hockey bar, and is located across the street from the Capitals’ training facility. FPA organized a bus trip up to Hershey to introduce Caps fans to the team’s AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. More than 40 fans made the trip, many of whom had no prior exposure to AHL-level hockey aside from the two games that CSN broadcast last spring during the Calder Cup Finals.
One unexpected benefit to the trip was getting to see Braden Holtby’s return to play, after three weeks sidelined with a knee injury that occurred on 30 January. He’s clearly just getting back into the swing of things, but he pulled off a win (6-4) without getting himself pulled, which is more than can be said for his counterpart Mikko Koskinen (of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who are affiliated with the NY Islanders).
In short, there’s a lot going on in the hockey community in-and-around DC this weekend, and even when they’re on the road, the Caps manage to be an integral part of the local hockey scene. Today is the final day of Hockey Weekend Across America – get out and enjoy it. Drag a friend to a viewing party, drag a friend to the rink to cheer on some kids (or your local beer league!), or just curl up on the couch and prepare to hurl invective at the zebras of the day (everyone does it, even those of us who know better). Most importantly, have fun, because at its core, that’s what hockey’s all about, eh?