The Washington Capitals will hold their first Capitals Convention on Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Gaylord Convention Center at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. The all-day event will feature the entire 2009-10 Capitals team as well as Capitals alumni, who along with radio and TV personalities, coaches, and team executives will participate in a variety of breakout sessions and panel discussions that will give fans a first-time look at behind-the-scenes operations as well as an insight into the lives of NHL players. There also will be interactive activities for adults and children, a display containing many of the NHL’s most prominent trophies, a locker-room store featuring game-used authentic memorabilia and the team’s annual equipment sale.
“This is a unique opportunity for our organization to engage our fans on a variety of levels,” said Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis. “It’s an opportunity for our players, coaches, alumni and front office to provide insights as well as the intricacies of our organization and our great sport.”
This will be the first chance for fans to meet the 2009-10 Capitals players as a group. The Sept. 26 festivities begin at 9 a.m. for season-ticket holders and 10 a.m. for the general public and will conclude at 8 p.m. Tickets, priced at $40 for adults and $25 for children 14 and younger, go on sale July 9 to season-ticket holders and July 14 to the general public. There are a limited number of “Golden Tickets” available for $350, which guarantees all player autographs with access to a special fast-pass autograph line and priority seating for panel discussions. Tickets will be available at WashingtonCaps.com.
Panel discussions will feature Leonsis, general manager George McPhee and head coach Bruce Boudreau and will focus on the behind-the-scenes, day-to-day responsibilities of operating a professional hockey club. Additionally, current and former Capitals players will participate in discussions that provide a glimpse of a professional athlete’s life and what they experience during the season.
There will be more than a dozen panel discussions at the convention, and in the near future fans also will be given an opportunity to vote at WashingtonCaps.com on other panels that they would like to see. Current panel discussions, which are subject to change, include:
* Ask the Coaches – Sit down with members of the coaching staff and pick their brains. See what differentiates their roles and responsibilities and how that impacts the team.
* Covering the Caps – Ever wondered what it was like to be a reporter covering the Capitals? This session will let fans see what it is like to be a member of the media. Learn what transpires before, during and after games.
* Managing the Salary Cap – Negotiating player contracts and managing the nuances of the NHL’s salary cap have profound impacts on every team. Get a look into how assistant general manager Don Fishman deals with these issues.
* Caps on the Rise – The Washington Capitals swiftly have ascended to one of the elite teams in the NHL and the architect is general manager George McPhee. Hear the firsthand account from the GM on how the plan came together and what is on the horizon.
* Kids-Only Press Conference – Players have to deal with media every day during the season, but this time the Caps are shaking things up and turning the mics over to the kids. In this press-conference atmosphere, kids have free reign to ask Caps players today’s burning questions.
* Work in Sports – Panelists from the area’s sports teams will discuss their career paths and advice for those looking to break into the sports business.
The day will include player autographs and photos with fans. Breakout sessions will be conducted throughout the day and will demonstrate a variety of hockey skills. The site will feature four interactive rinks, an interactive shooting game, two junior interactive rinks, a convention photo booth where fans can take pictures in a Caps-specific cutout and a penalty box game zone where fans can enjoy bubble hockey, air hockey and hockey video games. Highlights and feature videos will be shown on screens throughout the convention. A silent auction featuring jerseys, pucks and sticks also will be conducted. This will be fans’ first opportunity to purchase 2009-10 merchandise and special Capitals Convention merchandise. Comcast SportsNet is an official media partner of the Capitals Convention.
The convention will also include five hockey-related displays for fans to enjoy: a history of the Capitals timeline, a salute to the Original Six clubs, an NHL dressing room, prominent NHL trophies and a timeline of the evolution of hockey equipment.
The Chicago Cubs and later the Blackhawks introduced the convention concept to professional sports and they were met with overwhelming success as fans enjoyed a new and exciting way to interact with the players and organizations. Now the Capitals will provide their unique twist and give fans a full day to immerse themselves in a variety of topics and interactive exhibits.