With Braden Holtby’s future in Washington uncertain, we’re sharing some behind the scenes stories about the greatest goaltender in Capitals history. Have something you want to share? Email us.
The Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup run in 2018 was the greatest moment in franchise history. Riding Evgeny Kuznetsov’s 32 points, Alex Ovechkin’s 15 goals, and Braden Holtby’s The Save, the Capitals closed out the Vegas Golden Knights in five games to win a championship for the first time in its 43-year history.
But it did have one unfortunate side effect. Braden Holtby, who had marched in the Capital Pride Parade since 2016, would be unable to attend due to a full day of partying with the Stanley Cup, including a team celebration at Nationals Park.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 9, 2018
Brandi Holtby, an activist herself, marched in her husband’s absence.
Parade number one🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/SllCskyUBa
— Brandi Holtby (@bbholtby) June 9, 2018
But not being there tugged at Braden’s heartstrings. So, during what ended up being a day-long
bender celebration, Holtby still found a way to show support to the LGBTQ+ community and be an ally while all eyes in DC were on the Capitals.
Capitals fan Allison Latham explains:
As you remember, on June 9th, the Caps were honored at the Nationals game where Ovi threw out the first pitch. After that, the Caps ran around town partying with anyone and everyone in the city. That day was also the DC Pride Parade, which is how my morning started (brunch, house party on 17th St, and lots of rosé). On my way to the house party, I saw a guy selling Pride swag on the street, and on a whim, I stopped and bought a button and a hat for $10. I wore that hat all day long. That is, until Braden Holty asked if he could have it.
The Pride Parade was great, of course. But fast forward a few hours and a few drinks, I am sneaking under the rope at Nick’s Riverside Grill to get to the Caps. As soon as I ducked under the rope, I was met by a security guard who clearly sensed I did not belong with the boys and the Cup. He asked me, “Are you supposed to be here?” to which I very quickly and very confidently replied, “Yeah, I’m with him” while pointing to none other than Alex Ovechkin.
The hockey gods were on my side that day because sure enough, as the security guard followed my gaze to The Great 8. Ovi happened to be looking our way. We locked eyes, he nodded, and the security guard went along. I guess I did belong!
Now that I was officially a part of the party, I helped myself to a Corona and started chatting up the boys. As I am trying to convince Vrana that yes, I did see his opening goal in Game Five against the Knights (hello! I had even flown to Vegas for Game One!), Holtby came up to me and asked, “Hey, were you at the Pride Parade earlier?” I told him I was. He replied, “Man, I go every year. I was so sad to miss it. Think I could have your hat?”
At first, I was kind of shocked. He wanted my sweaty, cheap hat? Then, I was overcome with so much respect and admiration. A true ally. No matter the day, no matter the setting.
I laughed and said something along the lines of, “Oh gosh, I’ve been wearing this all day, I bet my hair looks terrible!” while I handed over my $10 hat. He looked at me and said “I think your hair looks great. Thanks for the hat.” We took a picture. The party went on.
To this day, this is one of my most favorite memories.
Here are Allison’s photos from the day, which includes the giving away of the hat.
The exchange happened after Holtby, who originally started with a Capitals’ Stanley Cup championship hat, and his teammates swam in the fountains of the Georgetown Waterfront.
Holtby would be documented wearing the Pride hat for the rest of the day.
Forgot to tweet this one earlier. I think Braden Holtby missed DC Pride for the first time in two years because they were partying with the Cup, but he was wearing a Pride hat at the bar #ALLCAPS #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/u8VdkhdY7Q
— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) June 10, 2018
A post shared by TSN (@tsn_official) on
Photos: Allison Latham
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