Saturday morning, I woke up at 7am hoping to take a photo with my son Ethan and the Stanley Cup at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Then, I checked social media. When I started seeing photos of hundreds of people in line nearly three hours before the event started (I would have gotten there around 9am), I realized immediately that I would be choosing to make my 15-month-old son miserable during a long day on top of a eight floor parking garage, and, sadly decided to stay home.
For a thousand-plus Caps fans (at least) who arrived super, super early (like my brother Brandon), they had the opportunity to see the Stanley Cup and it was a dream come true. Many fans, however, who arrived 30 minutes before the event was supposed to start or after, were later turned away and unable to get a photo.
The Capitals did what they could.
They started the event 30 minutes early and ended it two hours later than they said it would. Employees gave out water in the hot weather and tried to communicate expectations as best they could. As the clock neared four, the team also had large groups of people (who may not have known each other) take photos with the Cup so more people could have an opportunity — albeit imperfect. The Caps also gave out tickets (essentially vouchers) to those who were turned away and asked those fans to fill out a form online so they could communicate “future photo opportunities” and try to right that wrong.
We appreciate your patience as we moved through as many fans as possible to take a picture with the Stanley Cup. If you were in line and did not receive a photo, please fill out the form link below and we will communicate future photo opportunities to you.https://t.co/zvjE4fSSwE
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 30, 2018
But for many of the fans who didn’t get a photo, the day was trying and full of confusion on a super hot deck outside in nearly 100 degree heat. They voiced their frustration and anger on social media describing their day.
The @Capitals let hundreds of people wait in this hot garage since 10am to try to get pictures with the Cup, just to tell them that they should leave and there might be more chances in the future. They only expected 2000 fans to show up after waiting 44 years… pic.twitter.com/lut71RJ1fl
— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) June 30, 2018
.@Capitals staffer says no hope for pics, refuses to tell us how they plan to accommodate those who have been @KettlerIceplex since 10a. @ikhurshudyan you going to report on this? @TedLeonsis this is how you treat "the best fans"? #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/Djaw7R2MGH
— Marie Manning (@Marie_Manning) June 30, 2018
The fact that they underestimated the attendance by about 1000%, couldn’t keep the line moving and we’re communicating mixed messages was pathetic on top of it some clown security guard trolled everyone saying We were all guaranteed a picture if we were in line
— Christopher Medding (@cgmedding) June 30, 2018
Plan better! People who get there an hr b4 start time should have gotten a solo pic. 6 hrs in dangerous heat for a pic w 8 strangers? I f***ing hate you SO much. Caps fan for 10 yrs. Guess only rich season tix holders matter. #ALLCAPS right?
— Anne Veir (@AnneVeir84) June 30, 2018
Please hire an operations team capable of coordinating such an event! Took people forever to figure out where the line ended. At one point told the line was cut and we were good to go. Now told it doesn’t matter, Cup leaves at 4
— Jesse (@jtrain1212) June 30, 2018
Hey @Capitals – it was a shit show! No one could communicate what was going on. To be told “you’re guaranteed if you pass this point by 3pm” only to have the cup leave at 4pm and leave a couple hundred people hanging. What a shit way to treat your fans who stood for 6 hours. 😤
— kernie12 (@kernie12) June 30, 2018
You guys botched this. You're turning away people who got in line BEFORE the event started, with absolutely nothing. At least a ticket for the next photo event would be reasonable.
— don't make dogs wear clothes (@CJosephBea) June 30, 2018
I was very disappointed that they cut the line short. we did not get a picture with the cup and the staff members were very rude
— patricia 🌞 (@mabintypkanu) June 30, 2018
You had one girl that deserves a shout out. She was the only one coming down and communicating with people not on the top floor, or outright ignoring people as they walked by, and diffused a group of people while she stood there alone being attacked by fans with the tix. Pay her.
— Tim Parks (@TheTimn) June 30, 2018
I stood in line for almost 7 hours. I was happy to get my picture. There was horrible communication between the staff and fans and was pretty unorganized. Was told that the event was only planned to have 1800 fans showing up…you highly miscalculated.
— Casey Shelley (@cshelley24) June 30, 2018
Got in line at 915 and you’re telling us we can’t take a photo?
— Jesse (@jtrain1212) June 30, 2018
Waited almost 7 hours in line. Got 50 feet from the end and had to duck inside because I was about to faint. Security helped me inside said I could come back and get photo then was turned away by staff. Thanks for ruining it.
— Patrick Shumar (@patmanbnl) June 30, 2018
Apparently it’s difficult to find staff to manage getting people through pics quickly bc the line inched along all day, we waited 7 hours and didn’t get a pic. Not rocket science, how awful.
— Summer (@MrsSumJo) June 30, 2018
Waited for 6 hours, no pic. Need better planning. Expected 2500 fans; that’s insane. You should have expected as many as the number at the parade
— Luis Garcia (@luis99garcia) June 30, 2018
It was unorganized. We got after 9, & lined up to get in the elevator at G3 level. Found out that we have to go up to G5 to be at the end of the line after being in the elevator line 20 minutes. Walked up there and there were two lines with confused people. We left.
— Dirty Dean Martini (@Pho_Que2) June 30, 2018
Very ashamed of my @Capitals today. You ran out of water and people were vomiting and passing out from the heat. Then, thousands of fans that were “guaranteed” a photo by your staff were sent away with nothing. Zero management or accountability today. #shameful
— Derrick Dye (@turning_final) June 30, 2018
We JUST LEFT and you’re giving tickets out now??????? I’d like my two tickets, thanks!!!!!
— sharmagh (@shazza_bella) June 30, 2018
Tickets to what? We never were offered any tickets before we got kicked out
— Moneypuck Nelson (@savespecialist) June 30, 2018
Please let us know when the next events are scheduled! Really should schedule 3 or 4 more to accommodate the fans.
— Andrew Troup (@andrew_troup) June 30, 2018
Hey Capitals, im a fan from Dallas. Im on my visit and the crapshow you guys had today rivals that of poorly planned Comic Conventions.
— Ghasty (@Paintshopmaniac) June 30, 2018
RMNB commenter Mari:
Good Lord, what a mess! We got in line at 8:45, right behind @hmabb whose tweet is in this article. We were about 20 to 25 people from getting our picture taken with the Cup when the staff decided that we all had to go in groups of 10, meaning you were going to get your picture taken with people who are total strangers except for the fact that you were in line with them for 6 hours. We got our picture taken and like everyone else we were really disappointed and pissed off about it. We went inside to cool off a little bit and buy something at the store but at that point we were in no mood to shop or to do much else and decided to leave. When we came back outside we noticed that they were once again taking pictures of smaller groups and not the group of 10 that they forced on us. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Long story short, my daughter said it was one of the few times in her life that I raised a major fuss but we were able to get our picture taken with just us, rather than that big group. We went back into the building to find the people that had been in front of us and told them about this change. They went back out and had a terribly difficult time getting security to let them get a licture of just their family even though they had driven from upstate New York last night and would not be able to attend a future event to get their picture taken with the Cup. Eventually they were able to do so.
This was one of the most poorly-run events I’ve ever attended and I’m pretty sure it was not worth the 6-hour wait in the heat, the sun, and just the time it took. Hindsight being 20-20, we would have either gotten there a lot earlier even though we were more than an hour ahead of their opening time, or I would not have gone at all.
RMNB commenter dagny:
After the viewing events of the SCF and parade, it is shocking that they were so unprepared for this much interest. We were in line shortly after you and got cut off at 4. We were told at least 4 different things by staff at different times. I suspect that they started taking pictures in groups because they panicked at how unprepared they were and it had potential to be a disaster. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people left after waiting for several hours, mostly those with kids who just couldn’t do that to kids any more.
Hopefully, there will be another opportunity.
RMNB commenter Marc Gage:
Got there at 10:00.
Stayed untill they took the cup away at about 4:00 pm.
About 500 us were shut out at the end.
This should have been an all day event. Where did they have to rush the cup off to anyway?
6 hours down the drain.
At least I got to go skating afterwards.
RMNB, please keep us posted on the next cup event late this summer/ early this fall.
Thanks again .
When you wait 8 hours for the cup and still don’t get a pic with it, but I got this! #silverlining #tryagainnexttime @ianoland @peterhassett @russianmachine @LoudGoat @WesJohnsonVoice #thanksguys pic.twitter.com/7llsQpq3VZ
— Brad Genau (@Bgenau87) June 30, 2018
The reason why I’m writing this article is to give these fans more of a voice and to say to whoever is reading this with the Capitals: you are missing a great opportunity. Many of these fans may not be season-ticket holders now, but they are very passionate, enthusiastic, and very interested in the team right now. Not taking these events beyond super-duper seriously (staffing, venue, scheduling) will cause you to miss out on capitalizing on a lot of passion right now and a lot of money in the future. Consider this: Every photo a fan posts with the Stanley Cup on Facebook or Twitter will reach new people in this area that have never been exposed to hockey before. It creates a snowball effect.
From my perspective, holding this event three weeks after you won the Stanley Cup, outside, and during one of your busiest days of the year at your practice facility was shortsighted. Perhaps a much bigger venue and a few more days with the Cup should be dedicated to this in the preseason before the season starts.
Then again, I’m not the guy who would have to wrestle the Cup away from Ovi for that long, so easy for me to say. 🙂
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk
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