Olie Kolzig is a Fan-favorite for a Reason

There’s one remainder from last weekend’s Caps Convention that we should mention.  We received an email from a devoted Caps fan named Staci that is pretty cool. It’s about a player beloved by Caps fans, but one we haven’t talked about much here on RMNB: Olie Kolzig.

Here’s the story.  WARNING: It’s sickeningly cute.

The birthday girl, MacKenzie, poses with Capitals great Olie Kolzig.

The birthday girl, MacKenzie, poses with Capitals great Olie Kolzig.

Staci and her family moved to the area right before the 05-06 season begun, right after the dark days of the lockout. They had season tickets and attended a whole bunch of games. Staci’s youngest, MacKenzie, picked Olie as her favorite player, even though she rarely stayed awake past the first period.

MacKenzie met Olie in February 2006 at a “Meet the Team” party for season-ticket holders. Precocious ‘Kenzie, all of four years, waited in line for an autograph from Olie before announcing, “You are my favorite player, and I want to marry you!”

Apparently not within earshot of his wife, Olie responded, “I will wait until you get older.”

In subsequent years, Staci and her family would return to these events. Each time they’d run into the goalie, he’d remember the little girl and tell her that he’s still waiting. In 2008 Olie fulfilled MacKenzie’s birthday wish of a kiss on the cheek. That summer Olie the Goalie left the Washington Capitals for Tampa Bay and what would become his disappointing final season in the NHL. Staci reports that MacKenzie cried when news of the signing broke.

The signed photo reads To MacKenzie, Im still Waiting. Olaf Kolzig #37

The signed photo reads "To MacKenzie, I'm still waiting. Olaf Kolzig #37"

Skip forward to 2010.  MacKenzie, about to celebrate her ninth birthday, heard that Olie would be attending the Capitals Convention and demanded to go. During his appearance with fellow Capitals superhero, Peter Bondra, MacKenzie approached the microphone.  She squeaked, “Are you still waiting for me, and can I have your autograph!?”

Olie responded, “Yes, I am still waiting for you and of course you can have my autograph.”  Then he recounted to the audience the story I’ve just told you.

After all the tumult of his career’s end and the years that separated him from the fans of Washington, Olie remembered his biggest fan utterly.

Olaf Kolzig is a Vezina-winner goalie, a titan of the Washington Capitals franchise, and an accomplished philanthropist. But he also loves his fans as much as they love him. I know I’m not the first to say this, but the rafters of the Verizon Center would look awfully distinguished in the company of his numbers.

Olie3

Olie Olie2 Olie's stick
Tagged with:
 
  • http://crzyjewishotaku.deviantart.com Rachel Cohen

    Cutest. Story. Ever.

  • Shaun

    Great story, I love Olie, #37 definitely deserves to be hanging from the VC rafters.

  • Alice

    Oh god,i won’t lie, there might be tears in my eyes from how sweet that story is…which makes me fret more over whose name is going to be on my first caps jersey with a name on it…

  • MJ

    I wear my #37 to every game, with PRIDE….stories like this one is why I chose #37 for my player of choice…He is truely a great person.

  • Marianne

    I happily paid to have my picture taken with with Olie on Saturday at the Caps Convention. I told him it was a dream come true for me. I am sure he said something gracious but I was in such a happy daze I don’t remember.

  • Klarissa

    That is the sweetest story I have ever read. Thanks for posting it!

  • chris

    He is definitely a class act! Very few of them remaining in professional sports.

  • http://twitter.com/MyFirstMagnet MyFirstMagnet

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ATKkxvbKr4 I added this to my YouTube favorites years ago. It was the first thing I thought of when I read the article =) GMGM, retire the number.

  • Al

    Olie is a true sports hero. He is a man with values and cherishes those who have supported him through the years. I wore his number, 37, through my hockey career in his honor and it did me well. I was at the convention and listening to him talk really puts his career in perspective. He admires this city and best of all, he admires what the Caps have done and he understands that it was his time to go, even though it was hard for him to swallow at first. He is a Hall of Famer in my mind.

  • Connor

    About 6-7 years ago during the last home game of the season, I was hoping for a player to throw a shirt/hat over the glass to me. I put my ratty looking “Cure Autism Now” hat that Olie had signed to me (with MY name on it) down on my chair. Some fat a$$ 40-something old man with no life swiped it off the seat and ran up the aisles of 121 with it. I was crushed. A friend of my mom’s who knew Olie and his family well must have told him the story. Several months later I received a fedex package from Vancouver. It was not just one signed hat (to me, again) but two, with a note inside that said, just in case I lost one again. Olie is the man.

  • Peter Hassett

    Wow, Connor. That’s a cool story. Thanks for sharing that.

  • Sally

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Olie’s number should be part of the elite hanging from the rafters at Verizon Center. He was such a big part of the community and an even bigger leader on the team. The story about ‘Kenzie was just part of Olie’s work with chidlren. He’s still a favorite of mine.

  • http://youresovain-dailyvanityplates.blogspot.com/ Katie

    I actually happened to be by the main stage when she asked him and he remembered her and recounted the story. It was pretty damn sweet. He seems like a real stand up guy based on a few recent quotes I’ve seen from him. I didn’t go to my first hockey game until 2 years ago, so I wasn’t familiar with him, but he got one hell of a reception when he went on stage at the convention. He is obviously much beloved and it sounds like it’s well deserved.

  • Susan

    Olie has always been and will always be one of my favs. He is more than just a great goalie, he’s a great person.

  • Bernie

    Olie is a National treasury here in DC. I have a son with Asberger’s Syndrome and he has loved Godzilla (The movie) since forever. I still remember the first time we took him to see the Caps. We were so worried he’d get bored and have a melt down. Low and behold Olie stopped a puck and the Godzilla graphic comes up and Lord have mercy my son loved it. He’s attention was all on Olie from than on watching Hockey. Words can never say how important it is to have someone like him as one of the champions of Autism. It doesn’t suck that he was a kick butt goalie, as well. He’s name and number should be up in the rafters for sure. Put Godzilla in the house Ted!!

  • Marianne

    I expect that Olie’s number will be retired eventually. While standing in an endless line for something at the Caps Convention, this was discussed and everyone agreed it’s only a question of when. I expect the Caos to retire Bondra’s number first, though. One guy in line suggested that the Caps honor Bondra and Olie on the same night. I see some merit in that but I think they deserve their own exclusive celebration..

  • http://twitter.com/lisamcgrath Lisa McGrath

    I too paid to have my picture taken with Olie at the convention. He was his awesome, gracious classy self getting on his knees to pose with 2 adorable little girls in front of me. At my turn I walked up in my #37 jersey and said we missed him. His response? “I miss you too. I really loved it here.” LOVE. HIM. And even though they weren’t supposed to, he also signed my jersey. He’s the BEST.

  • Peter

    Bernie, wow. Thanks for sharing that. Very cool. Washington has a history of goalies that are very charity-oriented. I hope Varls and Neuvi continue that!

  • Lex

    What an all around great guy. As I waited to take my picture with Olie I watched him help two elderly females on and off the stage and got on his knees to pose with a few girls. True gentleman!!

  • Robert J Ternes

    Have tried for years to have Peter Bondra sign my #12 jersey and a highlight of the convention was achieving that goal. He was generous and personable and seems every bit as great a person as he was a player but the best news of the convention was Olie’s return, especially after (from a fans perspective) his departure was so uncomfortable. While his number needs to be in the rafters soon (as does Bondra’s). The rafters aren’t nearly as high as my, and I think most fans, esteem for them both as players and as people. Last year at games I often sent this text, “Olie we miss you come home soon”. We are all grateful that he did. Thanks again Olie!!! and Bondra too, it was great seeing them home and on the stage together.

  • Staci

    Thanks Peter and Ian for doing this story. MacKenzie is thrilled to death to see it here! I have also loved reading everyone’s comments and personal experiences that they have had with him. It seems you could fill a book with everyone’s positive stories on Godzilla. There are not enough words to express what a PHENOMENAL person he is. Olie definately is a man with a heart of gold, true values and morals and one who provides inspiration.

  • Anastasia

    I see so much of MacKenzie in me and I’m twice her age (I’m 20). I became a fan sometime shortly after the Caps 1998 Stanley Cup playoff run and I chose as my favourite player, Olie the Goalie. You have no idea how much this man has influenced my life, I play hockey because of him, I wear his number, and I’m studying to be a TR so I can help children with Autism. But yes in my young years, I would also go around wondering if Olie would marry me. I had his bobblehead and always ask the question “Olie do you like me?” and he would always nod, lol. So MacKenzie and I could totally hang out. And I’m glad he remembers her that’s adorable. I’m always questioning whether he remembers me, because I don’t think you have too many fans who hyperventilate and cry over you… yes i have cried in front of Olie. I’ve met him twice, and the 2nd time I full out cried in front of him, but he was very gracious about it, asking why I was crying, me trying to spit out, “Your my hero and I’m your biggest fan.” I was also disappointed when Olie left for Tampa, and I was even more devestated when he retired on my birthday, aka Sept 23rd. I knew it was a sign somehow, lol, make of it what you will. But yes Olie is a class act, and will always be my hero and favourite Caps player until I die. The card he signed sits in my purse and goes everywhere with me. He signed a bear for me as well, and i take it practically everywhere with me, yup even took him to England! :) Olie we miss you and we love you!
    MacKenzie and Staci thanks for this story its adorable, and despite being a big kid at heart and being 20, I felt 11 again after reading this! :D

  • kmr2r

    I wanted to marry him too,, but someone got there first! I do remember fondly the days in college of trying to meet him though,, There was a lot skulking about with no luck…it seems easier now to get autographs than it was then, but maybe it was then I had a no car, no internet to speak of, and no money to go to games/Kettler like I do now to get autographs (the marriage thing is checked off already :)!
    One of my students still remembers Olie reading to him when he was in elementary school.. he still loves him too, but not just because he played hockey.. I am glad he is back!

  • Lisa

    Wow, what moving stories. I’m teary-eyed (and not because Briere just scored) and so happy the Caps and Olie let the past go because his appearance at the Convention was a highlight for many of us.

  • Tim

    I loved Olie for the whole time he was here, and I was sad to see him go. I was at the game when he started here for TB, and I have never seen any player (not even a current Cap) get so many standing ovations. He was, and still is, a class act, and deserves to have his number retired. It would be awesome if he would take a position with the Caps or in their system.

  • Maryalice

    I’ve been an Olie the Goalie fan since he played backup to Jim Carey in the shortened 1994-95 season. He is truly the greatest! I have worn his shirt now for many years, and even though it’s a white one, I proudly wear it to Rock the Red because it’s for him. It would be an honor to watch 37 being raised to the rafters in the Verizon Center.