On Monday evening, the Capitals held the 13th annual Hockey ‘N Heels event. The event, which is exclusive to members of the Scarlet Caps, is a special evening dedicated to the team’s female fans.
The evening featured instructional sessions from a handful of Capitals and off-ice presentations, including a question and answer session with USA gold medal-winning Olympian Haley Skarupa.
“It was a lot of fun. It was really cool,” Travis Boyd said of the night. “Obviously I hope everyone that came out had a fun time. I hope they – I am guessing they are already fans of the game – but I hope this grows their interest and grows their love for hockey and the Caps.”
Boyd also spoke about the growth of women’s hockey, hoping that this even could help grow the fan base even more.
“I think it’s something that is growing,” Boyd said. “I think maybe in years past, and if you just look at girls hockey or women’s hockey in general, the numbers from 10 years ago versus today, it’s got to be twice as many girls now playing hockey which is awesome to see. I hope that they become lifelong fans of the game.”
One of the special guests of the evening was Skarupa, the local hockey player who won gold on the USA women’s Olympic team.
“I have definitely heard of [the event],” Skarupa said. “Growing up, I was never able to attend though so I was really excited to come here for the first time this year. I was very impressed and excited by the turnout.”
Skarupa was in charge of a puck-shooting station all evening.
“I was impressed by how quickly a lot of them picked it up,” she said, after witnessing the hard slap shots of numerous attendees. “I asked them if they have done it before and they said, ‘no it’s literally my first time’. It was pretty cool to see that and how into it they were.”
Along with Skarupa, it was also Nic Dowd’s first ever Hockey ‘N Heels event.
“It was great. I didn’t realize we had so many female Caps fans,” Dowd said. “I think they had a good time. We took a lot of photos and they are pretty knowledgable about the game.”
One of the most special parts was how close the women have gotten. Many of the ladies in attendance have attended more than one, making it a yearly tradition to spend an evening at the ice rink. Dowd commented on how many of the women knew each other and enjoyed their time together.
“It’s just so much fun. I mean, it’s so great to be so close to the players and learning about the nutrition and the coach talk,” said Debra, an attendee who has gone to three Hockey ‘N Heel events. “It’s so nice to see a glimpse behind the scenes. And to actually realize just how hard it is to make a slap shot. When you’re standing there on a mat where they are doing it on skates when someone is trying to hurt them. It makes you really appreciate the skill level that goes into it. They make it look so easy, but it’s just fantastic.”
“This is my second year at the event,” another attendee, Linda, added. “I loved it. I had a great time the first time. I love this. I love hockey and the Caps.”
Photos: Cara Bahniuk
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