Sarah and Green at Kettler in 2009 (Photo credit: Sarah Abrecht)
In 2008, Hagerstown native Sarah Abrecht fell in love with hockey. After graduating high school, Abrecht landed a gig at Kohl’s and her coworkers quickly learned of her new obsession.
“My two bosses were huge fans too,” Abrecht told me. “The husband of one of my bosses actually gave a pair of free tickets to my sister and me for a Washington Capitals game April 4th of that year. The seats were 11 rows back from the box. It was such an awesome experience!”
In the first period, Abrecht got to see Capitals defenseman Mike Green — in the throes of his breakout season — score a beautiful goal on the New York Islanders. Green’s slick skating and skill were fun to watch, but Green also proved to be a pretty cool dude off the ice too. When Abrecht met the Vespa-enthusiast at a Columbia, Maryland autograph signing for Muscle Milk (that I may or may not have gone to) he became her favorite player.
Abrecht followed Green on the Twitters and would run into Green every now and then when she’d pop by Kettler to see the team practice. After years of supportive tweets, the two-time Norris nominee followed Abrecht back on Twitter this part March, his way of saying thank you. Abrecht, who was making homemade donuts at the time, said she nearly burned the house down when she got the notification.
Following his biggest fans on Twitter is one tiny way Green has given back to the community. In 2008, Green, along with DC101’s Elliot Segal, created So Kids Can, a charity which benefits youth-focused, nonprofit organizations. Green and Segal have donated $250,000 to charity and have helped build several playgrounds for kids. Green can routinely be found at Kettler during the season, signing autographs for almost anyone who asks. During this past year’s lockout, Green also dropped thousands of dollars out of his own pocket to buy Caps fans drinks at Front Page Arlington.
“Green posted previews of these shirts during the playoffs on Twitter and Facebook and said they would be available when the new site was up,” said Abrecht. “So of course when it was launched this week, I was one of the first ones to place an order.”
Green is selling seven fancy screen-printed shirts, two of which have already sold out this week. Three of the shirts play off the design of his new stamped No. 52 logo. Others are inspired by the typography of the Capitals logo. There is one shirt, a personal favorite of mine, where Green’s face has been super-imposed over a finger-pointing Uncle Sam, featuring the text “I Want You to Rock The Red.” Yessir.
Abrecht ordered the $25 red fifty-two shirt on Tuesday, not completely sure what to expect. Wednesday she got an email and a tracking number saying the shirt was shipped. Before she even had a chance to check the progress of the shipment online on Thursday, it had already been delivered to her house.
The shirt came in a cardboard box, the sides of which were stamped with Green’s logo. Inside, the shirt was rolled up and neatly placed into a white burlap bag also featuring the logo. Underneath that was a receipt and then another piece of paper. When Abrecht turned it over, she became very excited. Green had signed the notebook card-sized piece of paper.
“It was so awesome,” Abrecht said. “The packaging, the shirts, it was such a world class experience. He’s handled it so perfectly. I still can’t get over how quick I got it. It was definitely more than I expected.”
Green, over the years, has been criticized by fans and media for his defense (which is actually quite fantastic), his big contracts, and his injuries. But that kind of stuff he can’t control. The things he does control, however, show qualities of a Calgary, Alberta man that are memorable.
“He goes so far out of his way for his fans,” Abrecht said. “Thursday he made my day. He’s never disappointed me.”
A Closer Look at Green’s Packaging
Photos via Sarah Abrecht
This shirt isn’t for sale currently, but it slays me. (All photos via @GreenLife52)