Saturday afternoon, we welcomed literally the nicest people on earth to our Capitals watch party at the Iron Horse. It was an incredible time. We sold some exclusive merch. We gave out a lot of high fives and hugs. And then NBC’s Pierre McGuire showed up and things went next level.
RMNBX trended in Washington DC. CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Craig Laughlin gave us an awesome shoutout on live TV. Pierre, who was wearing a championship ring from his time in Pittsburgh, led a raucous Let’s! Go! Caps! chant. And the crowd cheered wildly as the Caps held on for the 3-2 victory.
The man behind the Capitals’ best-known cheer is simply known as The Horn Guy. Before every opening face-off, after a goal, or any time the Caps need a kick in the pants, Sam Wolk unleashes three blasts from the upper level of Verizon Center. The crowd responds with a hearty “Let’s! Go! Caps!” chant. You heard it on TV. You’ve probably participated in it. Sam is famous.
He has starred in a Caps commercial, he helps lead the Caps Road Crew, and– thanks to his regional hockey fame– has taken megapixels of photos with eager fans. But away from the rink, Wolk is a simple man who just so happens to be bursting with creativity. The Lead Coordinator for Direct Mail at FedEx Office and Print Services, Sam is also a talented, self-taught illustrator.
If you’ve spent a second near Sam at a game, you’ve certainly noticed his horns. Each is an elegant painted piece of art that Wolk invests hours upon hours painting before every season.
Wolk gave RMNB an inside look at process of painting his new noise device for 2014-15.
NBC4 just posted this terrific profile on superfan Sam “The Horn Guy” Wolk. Beyond the usual lovely sonics, Sam talks about coming to grips with the lockout and even considering the alternatives to hockey. The bit in Landover is my favorite.
WOMP WOMP WOMP
Photo credit: @typicalsquirrel
On September 15th, Gary Bettman and NHL owners locked out its players. One other prominent item began a lockout of its own: Sam Wolk’s horn.
Sam, a Washington Capitals superfan known for his loud tooting during games, left his famous prop at home for the entirety of the 115-day labor impasse. On December 6th when the Hershey Bears took on the Norfolk Admirals at the Verizon Center, Wolk came out to Verizon Center to support the Capitals’ minor league affiliate. The horn did not.
“It just wouldn’t be right to do it during a Bears game,” Wolk told me on the phone at the time. “It’s only for the Capitals. The day the NHL lockout’s over, the horn will end its lockout too.”
Well this morning, Washington’s Fox 5 had Sam, his horn, and several other Caps fans on their morning show to help promote the Capitals first home game of the season against the Winnipeg Jets. There was even some horn blowing.
Photo credit: Chris Gordon
You watched games one and two. You know New York Rangers fans taunted Alex Ovechkin. You know Ovi had some trouble hearing them after scoring the game-winning goal on Monday.
Here’s how it works: The Madison Square Garden crowd counts down to the 8-minute mark of each period and then chants “Ovi Sucks!” Here’s it in action:
Photo credit: Chris Gordon
Thank you to everyone who attended RMNB Party 4: Judgment Day at Front Page Arlington. Thank you to Front Page for being such terrific hosts and putting up with our crowd. Thank you to Wes Johnson for rocking the microphone. Thank you to Mathieu Perreault for scoring the game-winner.
The turnout was terrific, the game was great, and it scarcely could have gone better. Our own paparazzo, Chris Gordon, was snapping pics all night long; here’s a sampling behind the jump. If you’ve got more pics to share, please link ’em up in the comments or share ’em on Twitter on the #RMNBParty4 hashtag. If you’ve got a story to tell about the party (love connections, anyone?), let us know that as well. Thanks again!
Rituals bind us to one another. In a fan community, rituals take many forms. In the clothing we wear, the cheers we shout, the fives we high– that’s where togetherness happens. It’s like a wholesome mob mentality, and everyone’s allowed in the mob so long as they can do a couple simple things.
Problem is: sometimes those rituals get us into trouble. Some rituals become bad habits, and those bad habits have got to go. You know what I’m talking about: It’s all your fault, Who Cares?, RED!, and a certain nickname for Sidney Crosby. It’s not cool anymore. Let’s discuss.
Sam, Sam, Ian, and Wes Pose For a Photo at RMNB’s First Year Party. Photo by Jesse Vaughan
A Heartfelt Thank You: Over the last nine months, RMNB has taken away valuable time I could have spent with my closest friends or family. Honestly, I haven’t always enjoyed the late nights of writing, the five Diet Pepsi’s to get through the day or trekking across the tri-state area just to meet one person or get one photo.
But everything changed Saturday night when I met RMNB’s readers. You all are so fun, so passionate, and so dedicated. You showed us what it means to be a true Caps fan, and I feel so blessed that we have carved-out a place where you can all respectfully obsess with us.
At final count, over 150 fans of the blog gathered at Front Page Arlington to simply meet each other and have a good time. We gave you a great excuse to spend your money for a good cause; Samantha Casey’s charity Love146. At the end of the night, you were all gracious enough to donate almost $900 towards it. And yeah, some awesome prizes didn’t hurt either!
Simply put, you are all such inspiring people. You constantly encourage some of my closest friends: Peter, Neil, Fedor, and Kyle – to write insightful, creative, funny pieces about your favorite hockey team. We do this because you are so receptive, so responsive, and just so danged nice. Saturday night was really just a giant thank you to all of you for participating in a blog that has evolved from being more than just a hobby (that I do in my sweatpants). We eagerly look forward to this October and maybe – if we’re lucky – our 2nd Anniversary party can be in June.
Well, with that said, let’s relive the mayhem that was last Saturday Night.
Whew! How ’bout that game last night? The Washington Capitals beat the Montreal Canadiens in a plum zinger of a hockey game. John Carlson and Nick Backstrom summoned some playoff heroics for us, but there’s a problem: they’re both clean-shaven. Do they know something we don’t?
Just between you and me, RMNB might have taken the celebration too far. The word hangover seems understated; it’s more like an aftermath. Compounding the problem, Caps Nation is looking increasingly more haggard. Scanning the #beardpact channel, I’m seeing a broad spectrum of growth. Before we get to the parade of stubble, let’s check in with the Russian Machinists.
To our surprise, the Russian Machine awoke this morning (okay, 1PM) to quite possibly the greatest email he will ever receive since starting this blog a few months ago. It read, simply: “TheHornGuy is now following you on Twitter!” See below:
Yes, after multiple failed attempts to get his attention (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), some soul-searching, giving up, and then trying again, The Horn Guy, el toot de extraordinare, is now following us. Commence celebrating… now!
Why is this important? Why are we so happy? Check out why below the fold:
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.