On June 13, 2008, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkinlaunched his clothing line with CCM. The lifestyle apparel, which featured a fancy number eight logo (that hinted at the Kremlin), was available for purchase online, in stores, and at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
Wes Johnson kicks off the event. (Photos by Chris Gordon)
As Saturday evening wound down, the streets around the Walter E. Washington Convention began to fill with Metropolitan Police cars. The President was coming. He had missed, though, the main event in the building that day, the 2013 Capitals Convention. Ted Leonsis unveiled the already de-veiled 2015 Winter Classic, players engaged in slightly uncomfortable yet humorous hijinks, and there were many, many panels about many, many things.
[Editor's Note: Two years ago, we debuted a t-shirt parodying the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rachel Cohen did the illustration and Ian Oland turned it into a shirt. It has become one of our top sellers and even appeared on an episode of CRL. At the Caps Convention on Saturday, reader Zack S. endeavored to get his shirt signed by the entire Washington Capitals team. Zack was kind enough to summarize the players' reactions for us. If you want your own shirt, you can buy it here in our t-shirt store.]
My dad and I were given VIP tickets the night before the convention by a friend who worked for Verizon. I was running around trying to find something to have the players sign and I thought how funny it would be if we got the players to sign a Deadguins shirt.
If you have never seen the VIP room at Caps Convention, it’s just a bunch of tables with some sandwiches and drinks put out, and most of the players come by to eat lunch or just hang out there between appearances downstairs. It’s a really cool setup because some of the guys will actually sit down and talk to you.
Most of the players were confused at first when I asked them to sign the shirt, thinking that I was asking them to sign actual Pittsburgh Penguins regalia, but most of them laughed once I told them what it was.
Reactions ranged from, “HELL YES!” by Jason Chimera to Peter Bondra shaking his head and saying, “Aw, come on.”
On the top floor of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Ovie’s human parents, Mike and Kim Robertson, set up shop with their leashed and well-behaved pup, greeting Caps fans on their way down to the convention. He made lots of friends.
Participating in the 2013 Caps Convention, Ovechkin, despite his status as a world-famous athlete, stayed down to earth, playing street hockey with kids (more on that later) and displaying his skills on the hardest shot machine.
“When he came up, there was a lady about to shoot,” Caps intern Q’marth Ghaemi excitedly told me in an interview. “She turned around right before she was about to hit the puck, sees Ovechkin, and just totally freaked out.”
Cooking with Paige, Kate, and Mike. (Photos by Chris Gordon)
[Ed note: At Capitals Convention on Saturday, friend-of-the-blog Kate Hudson was selected to participate in a cooking competition with Mike Green. The first thing they made was a brie and strawberry jam sandwich. I’ll let Kate take it from here.]
When the schedule for panels came out, my friends and I knew we had to see Mike Green cook. I didn’t know what that would entail, but there we were, waiting for Greenie to struggle to bake something.
I was sitting with my friends Roxy and Katie waiting for the thing to start. They were asking for volunteers to help the chef and Green compete in an epic grilled cheese cook-off. Katie kept saying that I needed to cook with Greenie because that would be hysterical. So I stood up and was like “PICK ME, PICK ME” and Elliot pointed to me and told me I was the helper. I actually was like “Wait, me?” and Elliot was said “Yeah, you!”
There were some wild panels at this year’s Capitals Convention. My friend Kate cooked with Mike Green, George McPhee talked about getting verbal abuse about trades from teenage girls, and Ted Leonsis… well, I guess that one wasn’t so weird. The best one of all, though, was the ping pong tournament between pairs of Caps players. Taking part: Karl Alzner and John Carlson, Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom (aka Team Swede), and Mathieu Perreault and Troy Brouwer (Team Sexy Legs). Team Sexy Legs you ask? Well, just take a look at Troy’s outfit. I will never look at my thighs the same.
In the end, Team Swede won all their games, taking the tournament crown. Below, take a look at my photos.
On Saturday, the Washington Capitals hosted their third annual Capitals Convention. A sold-out crowd of over 6,000 fans descended on the spacious confines of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to get autographs, pose for photos, and have questions answered by their favorite players.
Ted Leonsis, a mastermind behind the yearly event, was ecstatic for the turn-out. “That we’re able to sell out everything we touch really shows how wonderful the fan support is and my goal is to build a team as good as our fan base,” he said.
“Hockey players are so approachable,” Bruce Boudreau said. “They could be walking amongst [the crowd] and they’ll sit down and talk to you. I think it means a lot to [the fans] that they are so human.”
Below are my pictures of from the day including Alex Ovechkin giving out some free hugs, Mike Green signing a baby, and a lot of smiling players — and when I mean a lot, I’m talking some sort of world record.