Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Matthew Tate on 08/16/11 at 03:39 PM ET
The Washington Capitals have announced that they will hold the inaugural Alumni Game at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on September 23, 2011. Those who got to catch some of the Alumni Game prior to the Winter Classic know how awesome of an experience this can be. It is a chance for us fans to watch some of our old favorites lace them up once more. Even more than that, it is a chance for those new fans to get some sense history.
For the past couple of years fans have flocked to the Washington Capitals. A larger number of these come to the team with no prior knowledge of hockey. These are people who only know the Caps wearing red and white and playing in the Verizon Center. From some of things I have observed over the years (i.e. message boards, comment sections) this has created bit of a divide in the fan base. Some of those that have been following this team for years seem to view the new fans as being uninformed or, in some extreme cases, don’t even see them as true fans. As if true fanhood is determined by seeing Dale Hunter or Jim Carey play.
This problem arises due to the lack of respect for history lately shown by the organization. Even the alumni game prior to the Winter Classic had to be viewed by Caps fans online, as it was not broadcast in the area. A DVD released last year entitled “Washington Capitals: 10 Greatest Games” included only 3 games from the pre-Ovechkin era. The only true sense of history new fans can attest to is Mike Gartner’s number being retired in late 2008.
Eventually the Capitals will hit a rough spot. There will come a time when they might not make the playoffs for a couple of years. If the organization desires its fans to stay true to the team in the tough times, they need to keep history important. Hopefully this alumni event will be a step towards that.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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