Saturday, February 21, 2009
Caps Host Hundreds at Hockey & Heels 2009
Hundreds of happy female Cap's fans congregated today at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for a fun day of hockey 101, on-ice skill demonstrations and camaraderie at the annual Hockey & Heels event.
Hockey Mom was among the sold-out crowd of red-rocking ladies who enjoyed an afternoon learning more about the coolest game on earth.
Chilli Amar of Mix 107.3, an avid hockey fan in her own right, kicked off the event by welcoming the women and telling the crowd about the Caps' new Web site created especially for women. Then the gals broke up into groups and rotated to different sessions about all things hockey.
HM's group started on the ice as the ladies got a chance to play "Theo" for a day and try their talents as potential NHL goalies. Participants were shot at (with a soft puck, I might add) by Capital's forward Boyd Gordon and young goalie (baby-face!) Michal Neuvirth gave the women tips on stopping shots. There was some serious talent out there for sure - HM thinks that some of these ladies have played some hockey in their day!
Next up, we attended a "Chalk Talk" session with one of Hockey Mom's favorite sports reporters, Comcast SportsNet's Lisa Hillary, and Capital alum Rod Langway. Lisa is incredibly down-to-earth and funny - the kind of gal you'd love to share a round of pomegranate margaritas with! She related some of her experiences in her many years of covering the NHL and Rod Langway spoke candidly about his years as a Washington Capital and his thoughts on the present-day Caps. The ladies in the group had some really interesting questions - HM asked Langway about all the talk about fighting in the league. His answer was that despite the fact that the NHL "talks" a lot about regulating or even trying to ban fighting, it has and in his view, always will be a part of hockey. I know that some people dislike fighting in the game but honestly, if you read the book The Code - you'll see the history and evolvement of the players trying to protect their own.
We then attended an informative session on all the necessary equipment worn by NHL players. We got to touch and feel player's gloves, very large skates and other gear worn by the Caps. For all you fashionistas out there, who knew that some of the Caps' gear has an air of preppiness a la J.Crew? Each players glove has their name embroidered on the leather - very nice little touch.
Brett Leonhardt did a great job in answering all of the questions regarding equipment and the function of each piece.
Another highlight of the afternoon was the film session conducted by none other than Coach Bruce Boudreau himself. He walked us through a "film session" and demonstrated how the team prepares for a game by reviewing game film of an opponent as well as film from the Caps' previous contest. I bet the film session from Friday's Colorado game was not a pleasant experience! HM thought this was a fascinating session as the game moves so fast, it's hard to see the plays unfold much of the time. Coach Boudreau explained how a play evolves from the face-off and pinpointed exactly where players should be positioned in their offensive and defensive zones. So there is a lot of method behind the madness as he described the many hours of film-watching and meetings that take place up until game time...
The highlight for Hockey Mom was the final on-ice demonstration where the ladies learned the intricacies of a wrist shot and a slap shot from Jeff Schultz, Tomas Fleischmann and assistant coach Dean Evason. I must admit this was a very humbling experience for HM and I might need to reign in the yelling at my kids during games as this was hard! I netted my second slap shot but let's put it this way: Hockey Mom doesn't got game! The players and Coach Evason were fabulous sports and really took their time in demonstrating how it's done to each "player." It really gives you a greater appreciation for how much skill hockey requires...
At the end of the day, a great time was had by all and each participant got a stylish Hockey & Heels t-shirt (in red, of course) to commemorate the event. Kudos to the Capitals'staff and Chilli for another wonderful event and looking forward to next year's already! I met so many great gals yesterday and it was such a diverse group of fun-loving ladies. In my group alone I met a lady who got her Hockey & Heels ticket as a Valentines Day gift (good man!), a high school teacher who's been following the Caps since back in the day, some college gals who are in HM's former sorority and even a young lady from Boston, who flies in for all the home games!
I look forward to seeing these fabulous ladies again as the Caps are launching a new Web site and fan club just for us - stay tuned for details. And we all know today brings NBC's game of the week as the Caps take on the hated Pittsburgh Penguins (who beat Philly last night - drats). More from HM later... cheers!