The Caps and Pens face-off in the 2011 Winter Classic. (Photo credit: Brian Babineau)
For the past few days we’ve waited with bated breath to find out what, exactly, Uncle Ted would reveal on Saturday morning at Caps Con. An outdoor game? A new retired number? Moving the team to Baltimore? Well, Friday morning news broke (via The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera) that the Washington Capitals will be hosting next year’s Winter Classic.
The Caps have been promised an outdoor game for the past few years, so this isn’t surprising. Still, it’s exciting that a big outdoor event — and there are too many of those to count these days — will finally be coming to DC, likely to Nationals Park. Ted should fill in the gaps for us on Saturday.
So, what do Caps fans think of being on hockey’s center stage?
“About damn time!” Beth Dunn exclaimed when I asked her about the news. “It was the worst kept secret ever.”
“I’m very excited,” Dunn, who has attended three outdoor games in the past, added. “I’m really hoping it’s Nats Park. The fact that I can take the Metro there, it’s like any other Caps game — except it’s outside!”
One thing that could ruin the best laid plans of Teddy and NHL, though, is DC’s sometimes tepid winters. As the Caps learned back in 2011, 60 -degree temperatures and rain don’t make for slick play.
“They’re going have an outdoor game in LA, we’ll going be colder than them!” Dunn retorted. “This is a better party town than Pittsburgh; we’ll have loads more fun. The fact that we do have the public transportation will be safer for all the drunk people.”
Public transportation may exist in DC, but, as we know, it sucks. Just today, some Caps fans (me included) were delayed by a broken down train on the Orange Line. With a system that can’t handle a simple evening commute, DC Metro could snarl on the day of the big game, whether it’s in Southeast or Landover. Still, Caps fans tried not to care.
“We’ll try to look past all of that and concentrate of the spirit of sport,” Dave Wengrovits said of the estimable WMATA.
“I think it should be really cool,” Lauren, his daughter, added.
Nevertheless, even if the weather holds up and MetroRail somehow, you know, works, tickets for the DC Winter Classic could be prohibitively expensive. The Caps don’t control ticket prices. Setting up the outdoor rink is a huge chore for the NHL and, naturally, they want to make money. Some fans will, unfortunately, inevitably, be shut out.
“It’s cool, but I probably won’t be able to enjoy it that much because I’m broke as hell,” Kelsey Granlund said. “The prices just take away from the fun of it.”
“Even if it’s super expensive, I think it will be a good experience,” her friend Kate Hudson insisted. “I think it’s awesome.”