WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday was my first Washington Capitals game in person since January 2012, but my son’s first ever. It was a successful debut for the 5½ year old — the Caps beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2!
I bought tickets for the matinee on Sunday morning for about 33% of their listed price on StubHub. My son was very excited to be going to his first game and I was excited that I got in for the prices I used to pay back during the Dark Years when my wife (then girlfriend) and I would decide at 6:30 to jump on the Yellow Line at Pentagon City and head up to MCI Center to see them in their inexplicably all black uniforms. Our tickets were even in section 409, where we used to sit those many years ago.
On our way into the arena, the couple behind us offered two extra tickets in section 109. We accepted, but I told them I wanted to watch the game upstairs for the first period and we’d see them after intermission.
I made a stop at the local beer stand and purchased a Port City Optimal Wit, a whopping $11 with souvenir cup. Still, I’d rather pay $11 for a beer brewed in my city than $8 or 9 for something bland and mass produced by a multinational conglomerate. So, the lesson is, at least when it comes to appealing to this consumer, supporting local breweries is good for business for Verizon Center. DC Brau is also available.
Our seats were as always great up in 409. Contrary to my typical experience in that section, the Caps kept the action in front of us scoring 3 goals: Troy Brouwer (PPG, 03:34), Jason Chimera (06:57)
and Joel Ward (PPG, 08:44) over 14 shots. The Caps only gave up 2 shots, but Jaroslav Halak let the second one by Troy Bodie through late in the period.
At intermission, we left 409 and made our way down to 109. We also got the chicken fingers & fries basket and a Pepsi (another food service decision I support) for a total of $15. Good thing the tickets were cheap. We greeted the couple that gave us the tickets and thanked them, though an offer to buy the lady a beverage or snack was declined. They were quite pleased to share in my son’s first hockey game. The weather even cooperated with snow flurries not beginning until after the game, giving it an appropriate winter feel, I guess (and now over 7 inches later, we’re all home from school/work today).
The second period was a completely different experience in multiple ways. A dozen or so rows from the Caps shoot twice goal, the Maple Leafs stormed back and shot 20 times. Dion Panueff got one past Halak and tension filled the Phone Booth. The realization that my son’s winter coat was not with us only added to it. So, during intermission we retraced our steps back to 409 and not finding it, looked around. Thankfully, it turned up on the first level in Guest Services. So a BIG THANKS to the person who turned it in and to Guest Services for keeping it for us.
The final period was exciting, but neither goalie was folding under the pressure. The Caps killed off two power plays too. Finally, the Leafs pulled their goalie with about a minute left and I got to explain to my short neighbor why. It worked out for the Caps who added a final goal into the empty net with four seconds left. Brouwer was credited with his second goal of the game, though Nicklas Backstrom could have tapped it in, but declined.
Despite two goals from Brouwer, Ward was the 1st star of the game and deservedly so, having scored a goal and fed Chimera for the deflection shot in the 1st.
We left for the Metro and even ran into the couple from 409 who were also delighted that my son’s first game was a winner. He LOVED the experience and had to be told (but only once or twice) to stop bouncing in his seat from excitement. I think he may be a fan for life, he had so much fun. I am looking forward to taking him to many games in the future.