Goat and Jill rock the wed. (Photo credit: Wes Johnson)
You might not know him by name, but William Stilwell is a legend to Caps fans. At any moment, the man known as GOAT can fill Verizon Center to the rafters with his boomy “Let’s! Go! Caps!” holler. Goat has become a Capitals institution, a good-natured leader of cheers, as reliable as he is boisterous. He is– in short– beloved.
This past Saturday, Goat married his sweetheart Jill. The ceremony, held at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in downtown D.C., was attended by friends, family, and a smattering of Caps notables. Sam “The Horn Guy” Wolk and our own Ian Oland attended. The wedding itself was officiated by the voice of the Capitals (and perhaps the only guy louder than Goat), Wes Johnson.
The couple met by chance in Chicago, seeing the Black Crowes in concert back in 2005. She, a diehard Red Wings fan, and he, already a season-ticket holder for five years, found shared interest in music, hockey, and one another. Sometime later, Jill and her hero Sergei Fedorov both moved to D.C., where she was converted. “Brainwashed is the wrong word,” Goat assures me over the phone, but sure enough, she was soon among the Caps faithful.
In recent years, Goat and Jill have attended games, arriving together but sitting apart (he in 105, she in the 400’s). Afterwards they would celebrate or commiserate. “It’s a perfect arrangment,” Goat observes.
Capitals announcer Wes Johnson served as officiator. Johnson sought an online ordination (his official title: Universal Prophet of Absolute Reality) and summitted a mountain of D.C. paperwork to fulfill his duties. Johnson shares Stilwell’s same breed of enthusiasm and gregariousness, so Goat thought he’d be the perfect choice to lead the event. “No one else could do it with his verve,” Goat says of his friend Wes.
As the ceremony began, Johnson summoned his bellow and asked the crowd, “Are you ready… to rock the wed?” Answered by enthusiastic cheers, the D.J. cued up Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. At its conclusion, Johnson introduced the real star of the show in his signature half-growl: “Ladies and gentlemen… here comes the bride!”
Led by a flower girl in pink, Jill joined William up front, and Wes began his invocation. Perhaps unable to help himself, he began with a classic: “Mawwiage”. Placing the humor aside, the officiator delivered a reflection on Goat and Jill’s relationship. They are, as Wes reiterated it to me by phone, “two best friends, individuals on a journey through life that is better shared. But they do not have to sacrifice their individuality to be together.”
Individuality was in no short supply here. Goat wore his preferred sneaker, black Adidas Campus Two’s. Jill wore pink Chuck Taylors. The ceremony was as fun as it was short, but never short on smiles or personality.
The reception continued the heartful, but lighthearted atmosphere that Wes and the newlyweds set at the ceremony. Overflowing with sushi, pasta, barbeque, turkey and more, the celebrants were well fed. Jill’s preferred music, the devil-horns-not-hairspray stylings of Judas Priest and Ratt, filled the ballroom. The custom-made groom’s cake, decorated as an old-school Caps puck on top of sheet cake, was presented to much aplomb.
I caught up with William the next day, Sunday afternoon, a few hours before the Flyers game. I asked him if they were up for going to the game after the previous night’s celebration, “Yeah,” he replied, “We have to. We couldn’t let Philadelphia fans get the seats. Besides, it’s a nice way to bookend the weekend.”
Jill and Goat will take their honeymoon in December. Like the first time they met, they’ll be seeing the Black Crowes in concert.
Russian Machine Never Breaks congratulates Jill and Goat on their nuptials. An affable, passionate gentleman like Goat with such discriminating taste in sports teams deserves happiness. He is now off the market and has settled down. That’s great– so long as he never quiets down.
RMNB’s Wedding Album
Walking down the aisle, vows.
Wes pronounces Goat and Jill husband and wife.
The invisible handshake of matrimony.
A not-so-solemn invocation
The blushing bride, her pink Chuck Taylors obscured.
Exchange of rings. Muy adorable.
Goat could not contain his excitement anymore.
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the married couple for the first time.
Universal Prophet of Absolute Reality, Wes Johnson, and the Caps steel shield.
Congratulation cards from friends and family.
@TheHornGuy and his loving illustration of a noisy brother-in-arms.
“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde
The first dance.
Wes signs the wedding certificate. Jill Hunt supervises.
Caps-colored M&Ms for the happy couple.
Custom-made Capitals cake. Nom.
Congratulations, Goat and Jill.
Thank you to planner Jay Brooke for all his help. Thank you to Sam Wolk for shooting video for us. Thank you to Suzanne Kang for the primary assist. Thank you to Wes Johnson for assorted photos. And thank you to the the Stilwell couple for their graciousness and hospitality.
Readers, please share your congratulations in the comments below.
Additional reporting and photos by Ian Oland
[Ed. note– this article has been updated since publication]