Braden Holtby not ready to say he’s retired from NHL yet, but back in DC for good: ‘This is our home’
CROFTON, MD — As a scattered shower passed through the area, Braden Holtby took photos with Capitals fans out on the porch of the Crofton Country Club, indifferent to the weather. Always a bit uncomfortable with the fame that comes from being a star hockey player, the former Capitals goaltender seemed at home in the moment, grinning ear-to-ear as Caps faithful approached him. He looked happy.
Holtby had just finished 18 holes of golf as a celebrity guest of the second annual Laughlin Family Foundation Golf Tournament. The Vezina Trophy winner was not promoted or advertised for the event. But in the morning, he was just there — unmistakable in a khaki-colored Big Bear Trading Company cap, colorful slim-fit dress shirt, and aviator sunglasses. With no active social media, Holtby has captivated Caps’ Twitter whenever he’s been photographed around town since he left for the Vancouver Canucks in 2020 and later the Dallas Stars in 2021.
As he was chatting with guests, I came over to say hello. I wasn’t sure if Braden would remember me. I also wasn’t sure how he’d react to an interview request, which I would give him every opportunity to turn down with no hard feelings. Braden has always been great and upfront with Capitals media, especially after difficult games, but this was a private event and he had no obligation to talk to me. And let’s be honest, I’m not the perfect vehicle — fan-turned-journalist — to ask him some of the bigger questions that we’ve all been wondering over the last few months.
Is he retired from hockey? Is he back in DC for good?
“Hey! How have you been?” Holtby said warmly when I walked up. “I’d be happy to talk to you.”
A crowd gathered to our right as we spoke.