Leading up to the Capitals banner-raising ceremony on October 3, we’ll be sharing content from the summer that we never got around to publishing. This series is entitled Stanley Cup stories.
Three days after the Washington Capitals vanquished the Vegas Golden Knights in five games and secured the franchise’s first Stanley Cup, the team made its first public appearance in Washington DC.
Alex Ovechkin was scheduled to throw out the first pitch ahead of a Washington Nationals game, but little was known about how the team would be honored or what they’d be doing with the Stanley Cup.
Up to that point, the DMV area was desperate to celebrate with the team and they finally got their first chance approximately ten minutes before the first pitch of the Giants and Nationals.
The Capitals, including majority owner Ted Leonsis, team president Dick Patrick, and head coach Barry Trotz, lined up in the stairs leading to the Nationals clubhouse. And then everyone waited. As the anticipation of the Capitals’ appearance grew, a loud Let’s Go Caps! chant rang across the stadium. The sound hit me on the field like a sack of potatoes.
Eventually, Nationals PA announcer Jerome Hruska introduced DC’s first championship-winning team in over two decades, and Ovechkin walked the Cup up the dugout steps to a loud ovation. His teammates, who appeared ragged from days of intense partying, followed in tow.
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After saluting the crowd, Ovechkin threw out the first pitch to Max Scherzer. His first pitch sailed very high so the Great Eight, confident from his Stanley Cup victory, tried again, finally hitting his target.
The national anthem was played. The Capitals and Nationals then took a team photo at the pitching mound. To conclude the team’s on-field appearance, Ovechkin took a lap around the infield holding the Stanley Cup up for all the fans to see.
These are my photos from the day.
There was of course more awesome from the game. Nicklas Backstrom made a Russian machine never breaks joke to Ovechkin during the team’s press conference. The Capitals sang We Are The Champions and downed multiple beers on live television. Jakub Vrana invited a 10-year-old fan into the team’s luxury box and Capitals players helped him raise Stanley Cup. TJ Oshie got RMNB’s The Djoos is loose shirt for Christian Djoos on the way to the stadium.
There are a few more stories from this game upcoming as well.
Photos: Ian Oland
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