Fedor Fedin lives in Moscow, Russia, and he’s a huge fan of the Washington Capitals. Personally, that’s awesome. I love it. But there’s one giant problem, from our collective perspective here in America, we assume that it’s easy following the team overseas. But the reality is, it’s quite the opposite. We asked Fedor to talk about some of his experiences and let us know what it’s really like. I hope this opens some eyes. Welp, take it away, buddy:
Some Americans think following the Capitals in Russia is easy. It actually is quite hard and you are made fun of quite a lot. Here are some of the problems:
SCORN OF OTHER FANS IN RUSSIA
A lot of “old NHL fans” in Russia hate the Capitals and their fans. They call us “gloryhunters” or “Ovechkinomaniacs”. Yeah, sure, a lot of people who call themselves “Caps fans” are gloryhunters. But honestly, not all of them are. Some time ago I thought, that the popuarity of the Caps was actually not good for the TRUE fans who’s stuck with them forever. “Old fans” don’t see Penguins gloryhunters around us! I know many REAL Caps fans from Russia. But some people don’t see any difference between fans and gloryhunters.
Due to reasons unknown, you can’t buy NHL GameCenter package in Russia. You can buy it in Ukraine, in Belarus, in Latvia. But not in Russia. I guess, political variances between KHL and the NHL is the reason. KHL hasn’t signed an agreement with the NHL yet and the NHL hasn’t had any relations with Russia now. If you want to follow your team and all its all games, you need to have a broadband Internet connection and watch free streams by [black-market] sites. Russian satellite channel NTV-Plus shows 2 NHL games per week, cable channel Viasat Sport shows many games, but not all.
And yes, the main problem is that 7:00 PM ET games starts 3:00 AM Moscow. It’s so hard to stay up until 6am and watch the whole thing!!
The NHL Shop doesn’t work in Russia, too. It’s very hard to find legit Caps apparel in Moscow. I don’t want to wear discolored, crooked Caps T-shirt! Do you know what I mean? You can say, that i should use eBay or Yahoo! or ESPN America to buy it. But you must have MasterCard or Visa or American Express and I don’t.
Press around us say that the KHL is progressive league. Some journalists even say that the KHL is better than the NHL! They say that Gary Bettman made the NHL die. They really think that second-year KHL can catch up with the NHL and its 90 years + history?! I can’t belive it! KHL tries to close Russia from the NHL. I know this league well enough. It’s group of clowns. Really. [Ed Note: See Crazy KHL Brawl including Jaromir Jagr and a guy in a thong as well as a Sergei Fedorov Fight)
Some people in Russia (not only old) can’t imagine that you can really support a non-Russian team! I don’t say any words about national teams. Some people call the NHL the “Enemy League” and its clubs – “Enemy teams.” It’s rediculous.
Now maybe you can have a better understanding about what it’s like to root for the Caps in Russia. It’s extremely difficult.