Washington Capitals’ broadcast teams take over high school games during lockout
As the NHL Lockout surpasses the century mark in days, interest in hockey has continued to trickle down to AHL and college levels. But the Washington Capitals haven’t forgotten about high school teams.
The Capitals have given ten teams the opportunity to experience the atmosphere at an NHL game by bringing along personnel from broadcasters and public address announcers to team mascot Slapshot and cheerleaders Red Rockers to handle game day operations. Schools that get the most votes through a poll on the Capitals website will have their games showcased.
In the first game of the five chosen, Churchill vs. Whitman, there was even a ceremonial puck drop by Capitals assistant coach and former player Calle Johansson. The second and most recent contest between Stone Bridge and Loudon County provided increased visibility to both schools, as a raucous crowd of approximately 900 filled Ashburn Ice House for a 9:20 p.m. puck drop last Friday night.
With 100 teams and crowds of 200-300 packing the rinks on Friday nights, high school hockey in the Maryland, D.C. and Virginia area could become as big as high school football in the Midwest.
The Capitals idea not only keeps the media busy during the lockout, but also puts a self funded club sport in the spotlight. Most high school hockey participants pay $1,000 per season to compete between keeping uniforms and getting ice time, so it’s much deserved exposure for players as well.