The First Annual Capitals Convention

I went to the First Annual Capitals Convention expecting like a Comic Con atmosphere, just with Caps fans.  There were a lot of people and I didn’t what to expect since this was the first one and only the Blackhawks and Cubs fans know about this, but from the looks of it…we might another one next year, and then the next, and more.  Here are my observations from the Convention:

  • I had to take the Metro and Metrobus and it wasn’t that bad.  It took one hour from the Vienna Metro Station to Branch Avenue and 15 minutes from Branch Ave. to the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center.  I was in the bus with the Caps Spirit, which I find it pretty cool.
  • This is my first time going to National Harbor and it was the nicest places I’ve been to.  It had the great shops and restaurants and a terrific landscape.  Although, they have a restaurant called “Ketchup>’ Do you want to attract customers with that name?
  • Gary Bettman walked by when I was in line. I want to punch his face there.
  • Some guy who was behind me said the Exhibit Hall was huge and seeing nothing like it.  Ummm…ever been to the Washington Convention Center?
  • I just realize: Bettman + Crysby + Yanni = 666.  That’s why the Pens won the Stanley Cup last year.
  • I have a terrible slap shot, but a decent wrist shot if I have the stamina, I might be good.  A wrist shot would look easy, but it’s not.  I’m am still sore from all the slap and wrist shots.
  • Why is Bettman so content of keeping a team in Phoenix?  Here’s what I believe: It’s fine to have hockey teams in the Sun Belt, but be smart about it.  Phoenix, although have their own arena, does not have a fan base to help the team. There are success stories like L.A., Carolina, and Dallas, but I also think Nashville and Atlanta either need to be banished or relocate since their fan base is so small.  I’ve heard about Portland, Hamilton, Ontario, and Kansas City as suitors.  Why not Milwaukee (for Winter Classic purposes).
  • Bettman also said he doesn’t care who wins the Stanley Cup or the matchups.  Really?
  • If there was one thing I was worried about the convention, it was the breakout sessions, but they were the highlights of the organization, although I would like an un-conference, since that’s the new buzzword is conventions.
  • Don Fischman gave a great talk about the NHL Salary Cap, but Don, your Powerpoint slides were an utter piece of crap.  Don’t put a thousand words in one slide.  Take some presentation zen.
  • I stepped out on the Cap-ology session and seeing a little of “Covering the Caps” with all the Caps broadcasters and apparently missed out on a great panel, though I caught little of it on the video screen at another room.
  • What made the breakout sessions wonderful was how open and transparent the panelists (broadcasters, front office, players, others).
  • Prices of food were reasonable since the burgers and hot dogs were big, but $4 for a can of soda? Must be the Leonsis-Snyder pact agreement that at least one item must be overpriced.  Also, no recycling bins?
  • The Talent Evaluators was my favorite session (since I’m a recruiter, scouting intrigues me).  One of the more eye-popping things they said was that they’re more focus on the Southern area since the teens in the 90s were into roller/inline hockey.  I didn’t believe it until I found this article from the New England Hockey Journal.
  • From the looks of it, Alex Giroux is the Byron Leftwich of hockey.
  • Ted Leonsis is everywhere, literally
  • My favorite part of the breakout sessions: A little girl asked the players what song they sing in the shower?  Mike Knuble responded, “I’m listening to Lady GaGa lately.”
  • I was disappointed that I didn’t get autographs from Rod Langway (Asian-American) and Karl Alzner (we share the same birthday).
  • Michal Neuvirth’s only words, “I have girlfriend back home,” and “that’s it” and the ladies swoon to him like Liz Clarke swoons to Springsteen or Jeanne McManus swoons to Tom Shales.  By the way, who swoons to Tom Shales?  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Neuvy looks like an 11-year-old.
  • I actually touch Alex Ovechkin.
  • Great to see Chasta, Teka, Kelly, Alaina and Erika again, but didn’t see Caps Girl.  This season, I will go around the horn and meet every Caps fan on Twitter face to face.

Overall, the First Caps Convention ran better than I expected and I consider this a success.  Next year though, I believe the Caps organization will move the convention to the Washington Convention Center.  The Gaylord Convention Center acted as an experiment and there was a huge crowd.  Afterwards, there was great buzz about the Convention from fans through WOM and Twitter.  Gaylord might be a great place, but there’s a reason the Caps only gave out 5,000 tickets.  Now, imagine they gave out 20,000 in a bigger place and the amenities are much better (except the DC Convention center does not have a pineapple fountain in front of the building).  This is a start of a new tradition.

Photos from the Capitals Convention

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