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Hockey Below the Mason-Dixon


Yglesias says that “it’s a bit sad to see how much more engaged and knowledgeable the crowd at the Caps game is compared to the Wizards’ fans.” As it happens, when I was in town for Farley’s wedding since I had to go to the MCI Verizon Center to get tickets for a game in March anyway I decided to take in the Crapitals/Sabres game. Having seen a lot of games in Calgary and Montreal I was pleasantly surprised by both the near-sellout crowd and the intensity of the fans, neither of which I expected, and were impressive even given the artificial boost given by the presence of a real hockey market in the game (up in the nosebleeds where I was “Let’s Go Buffalo!” chants were frequent.)

Given the context, I was amused that the Capitals decided to combine two lame in-game promotions. A woman was participating in one of those “find the moving puck!” things, and in turned out that the prize for the contestant was…a marriage proposal. The punchline was that although it had to be the least challenging hidden puck/ball game in history, she got the answer wrong. But she said yes anyway.

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  • rickhavoc

    In re those promotions, Ted Leonsis may have bought most of the Caps, but that in-game Abe Pollin Magic endures.
    There is a (hard)core of ~6000 Caps fans that would be the envy of DC’s other franchises (except DC United) if anyone knew about’em. And the downtown arena is good enough to draw DC’s plentiful transients to boost the visiting squads.
    As NHL products go, and considering the team’s record over the last several years, they do a pretty good job.

  • Unless you’re effectively an Original Six or Eight or So purist (which I do not believe that you, Mister Flamer, purport to be), it’s more than a little crappy to dump on DC as not a hockey market. There’s a longer NHL history here than in…uhm…most of the Western Conference? And let’s not get started on teams that play in cities threatened by hurricanes.
    You can do a lot worse when DCU is out of season.

  • Desert Rat

    Erm, Scott. Just to clue you in (and I can’t even believe I’m defending the Capitals as a Flyers fan), Washington has had an NHL team since 1975…or to put it more bluntly, 5 more seasons than either Edmonton or Calgary.
    On the other hand, if you want to make fun of NHL fans who are really below the Mason Dixon Line (cough. cough. Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa Bay cough.cough.) and don’t know a thing about the game, feel free.

  • I think it was clear from the post that I underestimated D.C. as a hockey market, but the comparison with edomonton and Calgary is silly; obviously, length of tenure is not the only relevant metric.

  • rickhavoc

    Scott, of course, knows that he has Atlanta to thank for the Flames. What Alberta got in 1980 was already a pretty good team.
    IIRC, the Oilers were a going WHA concern prior to ’75.

  • rickhavoc

    And FWIW, was your coach in Slap Shot?

  • I would invite you to drop by Newark, but the last time we had rabid fans was when the Leafs came down for a playoff series and Torontoans bought all the tickets around us.
    (They prouded noted that they had won more Stanley Cups than the Devils, neglecting, of course, that the last one was the final year of the Original Six.)

  • Puma

    Not only do we have a pretty decent (recent slump excluded) team here in Raleigh (the Hurricanes), but we have a great fanbase that loathes the Sabres!(sorry… maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that?)

  • Leafs fans are the worst. Combining the arrogance of Yankee fans with a thoroughly mediocre record of accomplishment (artifically inflated, as you say, by the extended period in which the league had six teams and someone had to win) is about as annoying as it gets.

  • rickhavoc

    “Every time I come to this city, some guy picks me up at the bus station, takes me to a Leaf game, gets me pissed, then tries to blow me. Why can’t people like me for me?”
    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  • As a tangent: There’s definitely something to be said for fans who are more enthusiastic than knowledgeable. I remember seeing a Stars game in Dallas shortly after their move down there. The fans cheered everything, even routine matters. It really added an energy and lots of fun to the game.

  • Well of course she said yes. The question is, did she take it back later?

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