Certainly few people expected the Town of Lovettsville to change its name to Capitalsville last month, but even fewer could have imagined watching the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup at a massive, town-hosted viewing party alongside a few thousand of their closest friends.
The Town of Capitalsville held its Stanley Cup Final game five viewing party Thursday night at the Walker Pavilion, as the Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 to claim the title—the first time the team has ever won a championship and the first time in 26 years that one of Washington, DC’s four major professional sports teams has done so. About 2,500 Capitals fans packed onto the town green to watch the game, enjoy food and drinks from town businesses and, of course, fanatically cheer the Caps on to their historic victory.
“We’re thrilled with the turnout,” Mayor Bob Zoldos said. “It just looks great, so many people wearing red—couldn’t be happier.”
A sea of red about 100 feet wide and dozens of rows deep watched the game from beginning to end on a small movie theater-sized projector screen hung from the pavilion, with All Points Broadband providing the live stream.According to Councilman Nate Fontaine, the town’s mayor-elect, fans started showing up at 3:30 p.m. to set up their lawn chairs and claim their spots for the party.
Vice Mayor Jim McIntyre said the turnout was much more than what everyone expected. “We topped our town population with six days planning,” he said about the 2,000-resident town’s efforts to organize and host the event.
In addition to just watching the late-night brawl for the title, fans also had the chance to answer Capitals trivia questions between periods. One question asked a contestant for the names of the Capitals’ two minor league affiliate teams—the Hershey Bears and the South Carolina Stingrays. Another question asked which Capitals player had scored the most points in this season’s playoffs—Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Before the game got underway, fans played a few hockey-inspired games and enjoyed some food and drinks from businesses including Velocity Wings, Rasco NY Pizza, Catoctin Coffee Company, Creek’s Edge Winery, 1836 Kitchen and Taproom, Back Street Brews Coffee & Tea House, Lovettsville Pizza & Subs, Market Table Bistro and Thaiverse Restaurant.
The WUSA9 TV network and the WGTS 91.9 radio station sent crews to further publicize the town’s overwhelming support for the home team.
The excitement leading up to Thursday night’s viewing party and the team’s big win began May 11 when Zoldos wrote in his Friday newsletter that he would recommend the town’s temporary name change if the Capitals made it to the Stanley Cup Final. On May 24, council approved the action and Capitalsville signs went up around town.
Since then, Caps fans from all over the region have traveled to the town to take photos with the signs and watch the games.
Loudoun resident Aaron Smith said he has been following the town’s endeavor the entire time, eventually getting all his family members in on the excitement and out to the viewing party.
“I thought it was pretty cool when it was first announced,” he said. “We were like, ‘we’re either going to go to DC or we’re going to go to Lovettsville [for game five].’”
Smith’s daughter, 10-year-old Collette, predicted the Caps would shut Vegas out with a 3-0 win—a conservative estimate compared to how the first four games had been played. In fact, up until seven-and-a-half minutes left to go in the game, it looked like the Capitals were on their way to Sunday’s game six at Capital One Arena.
Now that the Capitals are finally National Hockey League champions, the Capitalsville name will be sticking around for at least the next week. Zoldos said he would now be working to organize a small parade featuring a few Capitals players. Because of the town’s German heritage, he said the team’s German-born backup goalie Philipp Grubauer would make for a good appearance.