Since 2010, Capitals Reddit has been a place for fans to congregate online, share important photos and links, and sometimes lambaste the “self-important windbags” at RMNB. But on November 17, one Capitals fan and Reddit user named slickvic180 became a metaphorical Santa Claus during the holiday season.
With Capitals Reverse Retro 2.0 jerseys sold out online and no restocks coming, a lot of fans were bummed out. Resale websites had some jerseys available but at double their price. The only place to buy the sweaters was at the brick-and-mortar Capital One Arena team store.
“Hi, all! I happen to live a few blocks from Cap One Arena,” slickvic180 wrote on Reddit. “I saw they had more jerseys available today. I would love to help fans out who arent [so sic] in the area or cant [so sic] make it by getting you jerseys… with no upcharge.”
Slickvic180 is not necessarily an online username that gives 100 percent confidence, but over two dozen fans initially tempted fate and replied to try and get their hands on a Capitals RR 2.0 jersey. Slickvic180 fronted thousands of dollars on his credit card to help 25 different Capitals fans get jerseys, asking for a refund with no upcharge or interest. A month later, the number of customers swelled to over 150.
One of the Redditors who got a jersey reached out to RMNB to express their joy about the fan who went above and beyond for others. They encouraged us to investigate who the “Reverse Retro Jersey Hero” was and write about it.
So I did. The person ended up being Vic Jain — a DC resident, beer league hockey player, and Capitals season-ticket holder.
Important note: RMNB is not endorsing Vic’s service and we have not used it ourselves. We are just reporting on it. Use at your own risk.
“I was one of the fans who waited in line outside the team store for Reverse Retro jerseys to come out the day it launched,” Vic said in an interview. “The entire time I thought how lucky I was to be able to live a few blocks from the arena and get my hands on one so easily. Then I saw how NHL Shop sold out, Adidas sold out, Fanatics sold out, Monumental sold out, and saw fans posting on Reddit, Twitter, and message boards, being so sad they didn’t get one and complaining about low inventory.”
Vic explained that one of his real-life friends asked if he could get a sweater for him at the team store, unknowing this would begin a month-long journey of cheer-spreading where he’d become known on a first-name basis at his local FedEx store.
“Obviously, I said sure since I knew the arena had a ton of jerseys left,” Vic said. “Then a light bulb just went off in my head. Why not just post about this on the Caps Reddit community and help less fortunate people out?”
When I told Vic that most people would not immediately jump to fronting their own money and donating precious time during the holiday season to do something good for strangers, Vic told me that he was in the throes of a difficult time personally.
“This was a great way for me to turn a challenging time in my life and turn it into something positive,” he said.
As for his username slickvic180, Vic said laughing, “Listen, man, it was screenname in high school in 2005.”
So far, Vic says he has sent out 150-plus jerseys to Capitals fans in the United States, Canada, and Costa Rica with some reaching cities as far as Winnipeg, Seattle, and Honolulu. Vic said that he sent about a dozen jerseys to the Seattle Metro Area and 10 to Minnesota and California. Five fans in New Mexico and one fan in Idaho got jerseys. He said he experienced a lot of demand from fans in Colorado, too. The majority of his shipments however went to people in Virginia and Maryland who just couldn’t find any inventory online or at Dick’s Sporting Goods or MedStar Capitals Iceplex.
Photos: Vic Jain
“I didn’t really think my Reddit post would blow up and then before I knew it I had chat requests and messages pouring in,” Vic said. “I was kind of shocked honestly. So I kept going to the team store daily, buying anywhere from seven to 15 jerseys daily and shipping them out to people. I even created a FedEx account. The people at the FedEx store even started remembering my account number and phone number by the amount of times I was coming in daily to ship these out.”
Vic would ask people who wanted jerseys to contact him through text. He then would buy the jersey, ask for the fan to refund him, and send it out.
“I was obviously hesitant about a very random internet stranger taking my money and never being seen or heard from again,” James McGill, one of the fans who reached out to Vic, said. “One of the biggest allures to Reddit is its anonymity. But after seeing countless posts about Vic delivering on his promise, I made the decision to ask him if he could get one for me.”
James, who lives in the Piney Orchard area, was unable to get a jersey during the initial drop and did not have the time to drive down to Capital One Arena. “Between work, two kids under four years old, and coaching high school sports, I couldn’t commit to going down there.” James called the jersey the best Capitals design of all time, which, for him, prompted the risk.
Lynn Stahl lives in southern Pennsylvania after recently moving from the Towson, MD area in mid-2020. Her husband is a lifelong Maryland resident and Caps fan.
“It’s a pretty far drive — about two hours in traffic — down to Capital One Arena and coupled with the ongoing pandemic, it’s still pretty unsafe to gather in such large groups of people,” Lynn said. “So we prefer to online shop when we can. This made it pretty impossible to get our hands on the Reverse Retro sweaters since they are only sold now in the team store.
“I’d seen some posts for months on the Caps subreddit about a guy sending out Reverse Retros to fans all over the country,” Lynn continued. “As Christmas approached I needed one more perfect gift for my husband who is a huge caps fan (and has an OG RR sweater from the Outdoor Winter Classic). I reached out via Reddit text about a week before Christmas and as luck would have it he was making his last run to the team store. He was able to get me one on such short notice and it arrived on Christmas Eve which was perfect timing.”
Tyler P. lives in Fairfax County. He said he struck out on the Reverse Retro launch day with all the Capitals jerseys being sold out.
“I saw a bunch of posts on the Caps Reddit from Vic about sending jerseys to everyone,” Tyler said. “I shot him a personal message just asking about where he was getting the jerseys from. He said it was downtown at Cap One and said let me know if you wanted one. I felt a little apprehensive at first since I was local but I got over that and asked him to pick me one up. I just told him to get whoever was available. He picked me up an Ovi so pretty stoked about that.”
Tyler said Vic “had a system to keep every order in line and the process was totally seamless. From message to delivery, it was probably about a week.” So many people were vouching for Vic on Reddit that Tyler decided to give it a shot.
“He is doing some awesome work,” Tyler said. “A true testament to a great fan and all-around great person.”
There are also Capitals Reddit posts featuring photos of Caps fans with jerseys they have received from Vic, including one at a Kraken-Capitals game in Seattle.
This story says a lot about Vic personally but also the Capitals’ fan base at large trying to take care of each other. It also speaks to the huge demand for the Capitals’ Reverse Retro jerseys and merch featuring the Screaming Eagle logo, suggesting that not nearly enough product is being made available online. Another barrier is that the Capital One Arena team store does not directly take online or phone orders.
“At this time, the Capital One Arena team store does not take phone orders,” a team store representative said when asked if that’d be changing soon. “If something changes then fans will be notified.”
Vic realized through this process that he enjoyed figuring out the systems to make this all work and said he was open to helping the team store enhance its offerings if they were open to it.
“Imagine how many other fans there are that want a jersey,” Vic said. “If the store ever needs someone to lead this effort, I would gladly do this as a full-time job. Capital One Arena is like a second home for me.”
There are so many different factors and variables that make this wild Reverse Retro/Capitals Reddit story possible. Having a middleman between business and consumer is not necessarily healthy as others could take advantage of it, but Vic’s passion for the team and his empathy for others have not led him astray. He is getting a lot out of it, even if it’s not tangible like money.
“I just want Vic to know that his kindness and willingness to spend his time is something the world needs more of,” James McGill said. “It brought the Caps subreddit and myself a bunch of happiness.”
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.