2009 NHL Winter Classic.
Photo from Army.mil .
Photo from Army.mil .
There's an idea that's been rolling around in my relatively empty head for a while now. How about having an annual 'Washington Capitals Winter Classic'? I don't mean an NHL controlled event, but one overseen by the Capitals team organization itself.
I'm talking about doing something that includes a visual experience quite different from the fine outdoor spectacle the league has given us over the last couple hockey seasons. What I'm suggesting will be very different for the players as well. As a matter of fact, what I'm suggesting doesn't even involve any NHL players at all. Well, at least they wouldn't be playing in the game. Not current players anyway. So this would also not be similar to the annual outdoor practice at the Chevy Chase Country Club.
No, what I'd like to see involves some serious role reversal. The plan is to have Chairman and majority owner Ted Leonsis, joined by hockey operations and communications personnel, trading in the suits for hockey uniforms. That's right Mike Vogel (senior writer) and Brett Leonhardt (web site producer), this includes you too. Don't worry guys, skating ability won't matter that much. This is for fun, right? Your team roster would look something like the following.
"Washington Capitals Suits":
Ted Leonsis (C) - Center
Mike Vogel (A) - Left Wing
Sean "Spike" Parker - Right Wing
George "The Undertaker" McPhee (A) - Defense
Nate Ewell - Defense
Brett "Stretch" Leonhardt - Goaltender
Of course, there would have to be an opposing team to play against, which could be different from year to year. A similar group from the Hershey Bears organization would be the obvious choice, but there are others. Why not enlist the local sports news media?
"Washington Media Mob" or maybe "Washington PapaRusty":
Corey Masisak - Center
Lisa Hillary (A) - Left Wing
Craig "Locker" Laughlin (C) - Right Wing
"Smokin" Al Koken - Defense
Tarik El-Bashir (A) - Defense or Goaltender
Joe Beninati - Goaltender
Oh yeah, remember when I said "... skating ability won't matter that much." Turns out, it won't matter at all, because you won't be skating on ice. Instead, you'll be driving small cars on a surface of mostly snow like the guys at "Top Gear" (BBC TV car show) have done in honor of the Winter Olympics. They didn't use goaltenders, so I suppose that position would be optional.
Top Gear - Suzuki Swift Car Ice Hockey
For referees and announcers, you might call on youth league refs, the Caps' radio guys Steve Kolbe and Ken Sabourin or some of the more knowledgeable hockey bloggers. Hopefully, the whole thing could raise money for a deserving charitable cause such as AIDS, Alzheimer's, Autism or Cancer. Cars that are still road worthy could be donated after the event if they aren't kept for the next year. It would be great if this could really happen starting next winter. What do you think?