Back when my bowling league ended in April, I told my pal Al that I would would be rooting for the Washington Capitals to win the Stanley Cup.
The playoffs were just starting.
He raised an eyebrow, hearing enough about my allegiance to the New York Islanders as our bowling squads rolled against each other over the seasons and we talked hockey. Al cheers on the Montreal Canadiens. We still get along.
I explained how the Caps got my attention back at the end of the 70s and 80s when I lived in suburban Maryland.
There’s more to it than that.
My roommate during our Terrapin years, Greg Ten Eyck, got a great job working public relations at the big sports arena in Landover, Md., two jobs out from graduation. He worked for a fast-talking guy named Bob Zurfluh at the Capital Centre. It was owned by a rich gent by the name of Abe Pollin, a big man in D.C. sports who also owned the Washington Bullets of the NBA and the newest NHL squad, the Washington Capitals.
One of Greg’s perks was that he could get tickets to games to give to appropriate people. I was the sports editor of the suburban Prince George’s Journal, a paper that made its reputation covering the area high school and college sports. I went to many Caps games over the span of four seasons when I wasn’t at those games.
The tickets were always in the same section, in the corner of the arena. I sat by myself, soaking in the major-league atmosphere, imagining what I’d be writing if I were covering the games for, say, The Washington Post.
So when they won their first Stanley Cup on Thursday night, I sent Greg a message, congratulating the team, and him, too. He played his role in the squad’s success back them, before he moved on to bigger jobs and his successful public relations life.
He sent me a photo of The Washington Post’s front page celebrating the big moment.
Cool for everybody down there. I had a blast watching the Caps skate around the ice in Las Vegas, each player carrying the Cup aloft per long-standing NHL tradition.
Now you have the full story, Al.
Now if the Islanders could snag another Stanley Cup.