Capitals First-Timers — Loving The Game

We here at OFB, and most of you reading this, are long-time Capitals fans. We’ve been through the tough times; great seasons followed by dashed hopes; Juneau jubilation and Cup-finals disappointment; the Jagr-signing euphoria and the Jagr-reality letdown; the dreaded (but necessary) fire sale that saw so many Capitals veterans hit the highway.

It’s been a while since we first fell head over heels for hockey, and for the Washington Capitals in particular . . . but there are new folks discovering the Capitals all the time, experiencing that new-relationship thrill with their new dance partner.

Mrs. OrderedChaos’ coworker Megan has never been to a Capitals game. Her brother is a hockey fan living in Upstate New York, but her family overall is pretty new to the sport. With her mother visiting this week, Megan decided that taking her mom (and herself) to a Caps game was a perfect activity for a visiting family member — so tonight the Capitals aren’t just hosting the Boston Bruins, but also a few brand-new fans.

Megan immediately asked my wife about hockey etiquette, and what to expect at the Verizon Center. To Mrs. OC’s credit, here are the basic rules she immediately laid out for her friend without hesitation:


  • Wait for a whistle/stoppage in play to return to, or leave, your seats.
  • Wear red.
  • Stand up and high-five your neighbors whenever the Caps score.
  • Lean back–if you lean forward (particularly in the upper deck), those behind you can’t see.


So clearly my wife, who’d never been a hockey aficionado before met, has embraced the sport pretty emphatically. She even loaned Megan and her mom Caps jerseys for the night, so they could be appropriately clad for the festivities.

What’s the first thing Megan did upon receiving the Caps sweaters last week? Took photos of herself wearing the jerseys to taunt her brother, a Philadelphia Flyers’ fan.

It’s pretty darned cool to see a new hockey fan so excitedly embrace her hometown team — and combining that enthusiasm with taunting a Flyers fan, well, that’s just heartwarming.

So if you happen to see Megan in the stands, welcome her with a high-five or a LET’S GO CAPS.

And if you have any advice you’d want give a new Capitals fan beyond the list above — arena etiquette, team traditions, anything you think a newly-minted fan should know — feel free to add them as comments!

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12 Responses to Capitals First-Timers — Loving The Game

  1. Karen Kraus says:

    Very succinct advice — and pretty much the exact same things I told two first-timer friends in the past week. The only thing I left out with one of the two was the “wear red,” because he was a Blue Jackets fan, and he was sitting with four Caps fans… at Nationwide Arena. šŸ˜‰

  2. Ha! Great stuff Karen, thanks for sharing it. šŸ™‚

    Here’s one I would add: Stay off your cell phone! If you have to send a quick text or tweet about the game, fine, as long as it’s A) quick and 2) game-related. But the surest way to hear booed is when the camera catches some suit-wearing 100-level guy chatting away on his phone and ignoring the game.

  3. Valleycapsfan says:

    My main advice for new fans: wait until a stoppage in play to leave from or return to your seat, and that DOESN’T include stoppages for icing unless their seat is right at the exit for the concourse. I work with a Canadian (a Maple Laughs fan, God help him), and he always says “doing that would get you pulverized at a game North of the border.”

  4. Sonja says:

    Be a gracious fan … even to fans of the opposing team. One of the best times I ever had at a game was with some Rangers fans sitting right behind us about a month ago. At first I thought they were going to be obnoxious, but then I turned to engage them in some smartmouth (albeit polite) of my own and we all had a great time together just enjoying good hockey. At the end of the day, many hockey fans enjoy hockey first and their team second (although it’s usually too close to call). So it’s good policy to be a good neighbor if you have opposing fans nearby and can make for a better experience overall.

  5. Will says:

    First- Enjoy!

    Second- I was also at Nationwide this w/e. More caps than Jackets fans on the road is sweet!

    Third- You are off to a great start taunting Filthy

    Fourth- If you want to take pics to upload, please wait until a tv timeout, that way you can stand and get a better view of the ice etc.

    Fifth- Beer choices are better and slightly cheaper at Dewars Club. At least IMO.

    Sixth, and above all- See point 1!

  6. Angie says:

    For the love of the hockey fans around you, please don’t discuss your personal life during the game! It is so incredibly annoying to have someone sitting next to you that talks nonstop about things, that we who are watching the game don’t need to hear. I’ve heard everything from stock portfolio conversations (probably from the guy in the suit on his cell phone!) to girls talking about shoes and boyfriends, to guys discussing the trouble they had eating steak and what it did to their intestinal track! Seriously! Be there for the game, not to socialize. If you want really need to socialize go to a baseball game!

  7. @ ANGIE: “If you really need to socialize go to a baseball game!”
    Ha! Couldn’t agree more. šŸ™‚

  8. Mary Jane says:

    …seriously, the guy sitting behind me at a game last week went on for more than 20 minutes about his recent nose-hair waxing! I call those seat behind us “rentals” because there are always different people sitting in them. I hope this bunch doesn’t come back.

  9. Nunquam Fides says:

    During the National Anthem, yell “RED!” during “…and the rockets RED glare…” and also yell “OOOOOOOOoo! say does that Star Spangled Banner…”

    Other than that just join the other fans in the Goat/Horn Guy “Let’s Go Caps!” chant and you’ll fit right in.

  10. TG says:

    Be as loud as you want, but keep it clean, especially if children are in the vicinity. I’m sure they’ll learn those words someday, but they don’t have to be from you.

    A few beers are OK, but don’t overindulge and have everyone else in the section make fun of you.

    It’s OK to jeer the other team and the refs, but remember that sometimes, the Caps DO commit penalties.

    Don’t yell “SHOOOOOOOT” when the team’s on a power play.

    And if the Caps don’t win, remember that the other team is trying its hardest to win as well.

  11. got stanley? says:

    Additional comment on standing – there are times and points in some games where standing is okay and even customary. Most fans will stand for:

    – A fight
    – A penalty shot
    – A shootout

    Some may also stand in overtime. If you’re not sure, follow the lead of those around you, and default to “don’t get up when the puck’s in play”.

  12. Megan says:

    Thanks, everybody! Mom and I had a great time last night. Now I’m just wondering when I can go again… šŸ™‚

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