[Editor's note: On Sunday, the Washington Capitals played their final game of the season, a 1-0 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. After the game, select Caps fans were brought out onto the ice to receive jerseys off the players' backs. RMNB reader Kate Yost was one of those fortunate few. She describes her experience below.]
A few weeks ago, I noticed that the Scarlet Caps posted about their newest contest for Fan Appreciation Week- “Pin a Moment, Win a Moment.” They asked the contestants to post a picture on Pinterest of their favorite Capitals 2013-2014 moment. My family and friends have a running joke (that we’re actually not really joking about) that I’m “Caps lucky.” Basically, I have a pretty solid track record of winning Caps-related contests. So naturally, when I saw this contest, I entered.
My husband, Justin, and I are both huge Caps fans. We also just got married this past December. So when it came time to plan our bachelor/bachelorette parties, we both decided to have ours at a Caps game. Obviously, we picked different games on different nights to avoid running into each other… but that’s beside the point. For my favorite 2013-2014 season moment, I decided to choose the evening of my bachelorette party. It was a ton of fun celebrating my upcoming wedding with my family, bridesmaids and friends, who are a lovely mixture of seasoned hockey fans and girls who accidentally call the puck a “ball.”
Three days before the Caps’ Fan Appreciation Day and their final game of the season, I got a call saying I had been selected as the winner! My family couldn’t believe my luck AGAIN, but we had to keep it hush hush until they officially announced the winner at a Happy Hour the next night. For the next few days, I had many conversations with my family and friends discussing who’s jersey everyone thought I would get and compiling mental lists of which players I would love to receive and which players I would like to receive. Every time Ovechkin’s name was mentioned, I would respond with an “Of course, but the chances of that happening…”
I was able to enjoy the first two periods of the Caps’ game against the Lightning sitting with Justin. At the start of the third period, the game was still 0-0 as I headed down to the concourse to meet up with all the other lucky winners. We checked in and started some small talk. Mostly questions like “So, how did you win??” and “Which player’s jersey is your first choice?” Next we were all handed a big sealed envelope and made our way underground to wait out the rest of the game. We were able to catch glimpses of the third period from TVs along the way, but we ended up in a hallway with no view of the ice or a TV. A man in a suit walked by, giving us our one update, “The Lightning just scored in the shootout.” A few minutes later, we saw the Lightning players walk by and into their locker room. The game was over and unfortunately we lost.
However, our disappointment was forgotten the minute we stepped foot on the carpet that had been rolled out onto the ice. We clenched our envelopes, staring at the players lined up across from us, anxiously waiting our turn. I distinctly remember seeing Ovi rubbing his hands all over his jersey, as if he was trying to get it as sweaty and stinky as possible.
As the lady in front of me was getting her picture taken with John Carlson, a man wearing a headset told me to go ahead and open my envelope. I ripped it open and pulled out a giant number 8! “My mom isn’t going to believe this…” I remember thinking to myself as my favorite toothless grin came skating over to me.
Looking back, I think the entire encounter took all of 15 seconds. All I can remember is Ovi saying hi with his thick Russian accent and me saying thank you a good five or six times. He signed his jersey and handed it to me before we posed for pictures. Then he skated back and joined a few of his teammates over by the bench.
This may not have been the season Caps fans had been hoping for, but I’m fairly certain that every time I sit down in our ever-growing “Caps Cave” of a living room and catch a glimpse of my priceless newest addition, I will think back on the best Caps season (so far!).
Oh and by the way, Scarlet Caps, I have a new favorite moment.