Hey Caps fans,
When I was asked to address you, along with our sponsors, volunteers, and others prior to our first home game of the season, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say. I could have rolled out all the usual stuff a coach says – about how we can’t wait to get going, the summer’s been long, the guys have been working hard through Pre-season in preparation etc. etc. etc. And we can’t wait to see you all at the first game blah, blah, blah….
But that’s boring. Every coach and every club does that in every sport at all levels at the start of each season. You’ve probably heard it all or something similar before. I wouldn’t want to read or hear that bullshit if I was a supporter either. They’re just words that don’t mean anything. Besides, we’re committed to doing things a little bit differently from everyone else here.
So instead of talking to you, I’m going to talk about you.
Last season, you guys were absolutely awesome. No other word describes it better. When I took the job last June, myself and the new management team thought if we could average 400 people at each game, we’d be doing well. We had just under 1000 at the first one and the numbers grew and grew and grew again each week. 1650 of you turned up to watch an SNL game at Murrayfield Ice Arena in February – long-time hockey fans in Edinburgh, pause for a second or two, then read that last sentence again. Then pause again and take it in…….
As well as loyal Caps fans who returned after not having their team to follow for 5 years, new fans came and came back again the next week, and the week after that. Racers fans came back too because they loved watching this hockey team. Why? There are probably a few reasons (the temperature in MIA is not likely to be one of them) but I like to think they loved and appreciated seeing a group of local 100%ers giving everything they have for each other, their club, and for you.
You were loud. You were passionate. You came week after week. You came to games wearing Caps colours. You followed us on the road at away games. You introduced your friends. You helped us win games that we probably shouldn’t have won. You got to know them personally in the Caps Bar after games. Your kids hung around outside the dressing room just to get a little fist bump from a few of us. You ‘Skated with the Capitals.’ You donated to Supporter’s Club fundraisers. And you did so much more…..
You cared as much as we did. You helped create this Caps Family that we have that never existed before.
You also made the place a special place for players to play. One thing I discussed passionately with the management team when I took the job on is that I wanted to make this a club where once players came, they never wanted to leave. You guys are helping us achieve that.
You made this YOUR club as much as it is ours.
We’re going to do more fan interaction this season as it goes on because you absolutely deserve it, and probably more. I can’t thank you enough for your support and I know the players love playing for you and the name on the front of the jersey – not the name on the back.
Keep being you. But louder. If that’s possible. I’m challenging you.
P.S. Can’t wait to get going. Summer’s been long and we’ve been working hard during pre-season to be ready. Can’t wait to see you at the first game……..