Ladies and Hockey. That’s what Thursday night was all about at Kettler.
Hockey ‘n Heels was definitely a great experience. This was my first one, and I can definitely say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself, as did my aunt, cousin, and mother. For some general rundowns of the event, check out Hockey Mom and DC Sports Chick.
The night started off pretty well. My mom and I got there about half an hour early. After finding out we were in the Green group at check-in, we decided to go and shop. We hit the Pro Shop to get our first ever Caps jerseys (I have a white Hershey Bears jersey. The awesome one from last year). I’ve wanted Dave Steckel‘s jersey for a while and finally got it last night. Mom elected to go with Varlamov. I also got a red Bradley t-shirt and a Courage Caps hat (or touque, whatever). And of course, I put my new red jersey on before the festivities began.
With a couple minutes to 6 o’clock, we headed into the rink. The stands were filled with women in their red (and occasional pink) Caps paraphernalia. I saw so many different jerseys, to my surprise. Poti, Jurcina, Semin, Ovechkin, Laich, Varlamov, Theodore, Green. And guess what? There was a Nylander jersey. Seriously.
Once we were all settled in, they announced the players and coaches there. On the main rink, where my group was, there would be Peter Bondra, Jay Beagle, Dean Evason, and Tyler Sloan. On the second rink, they had Eric Fehr, Bob Woods, and Mathieu Perreault. We all split into our designated groups and went to which ever rink we were assigned.
The on-ice drills consisted of working on stick skills with Sloan, faceoffs (!) with Evason, and shooting with Beagle and Bondra. Our first station was stick skills. Horrible. Just horrible. I couldn’t do it for the life of me. Tyler was so nice and patient, and I told him, “This hockey stick is too big.” He said, “Yeah, it can be a little tough sometimes.” It was only a few inches shorter than my statuesque five foot and half an inch. At least it seemed like that.
Next up: FACEOFFS! I kind of knew the technique from watching the game so much. Sweep it back, just sweep it back. And of course, that’s exactly what Dean Evason said. “Here. And back. Here. And back.” I went against my mom, so I knew I’d win any way. But I won the first one so cleanly that he took one look at my jersey and said, “Hey! You’re cheating! You’ve been getting tips from Stecks! He’s like 65% on the year or somethin’!” I told him that’s why I said I had to be good at this. Had to do #39 proud. Ended up going 4-for-5, good for 80%. Yeah, I really like faceoffs.
Final stop was with Beags and Bondra for shooting drills. Once we got up there, everyone only got one or two shots compared to the three or four others had. Probably because everyone wanted pictures with Bondra (technically, I guess we weren’t supposed to). Beagle was really quiet and pretty much stood to the side. He was really nice though. My mom couldn’t work my aunt’s camera, and she was taking awhile, but he kept telling my cousin and I that it was okay, he didn’t mind. I think I can confidently say that I have a pretty nice shot, but we didn’t have much time so I just shot two quick ones with out taking the time that some other ladies were. We were actually late getting to Bruce’s session because I really wanted a picture with Bondra, and my aunt made me stay to wait for him to come off the ice. He was so nice to actually take one with my cousin and me. Oh, and while we were waiting, we saw Perreault. He’s really short. No way he’s 5’10. Maybe 5’7.
We made another detour before the film session with Bruce. We bought his book. His wife Crystal was selling them with Brady, and my aunt was asking about how their family was doing. She said their daughter, Kasey, just moved into her house in Ottawa. Kasey called Bruce to ask him if he wanted to come over for dinner on Sunday. Crystal said she told him, “You know, she just moved in a few days ago, and she hasn’t moved 13 (or somewhere around there) times like I have. She can’t unpack that fast. She wants you to help her move in. She’s not cooking you anything. You’ll be getting delivery pizza.”
When we finally did make it to Bruce’s session, it was pretty sweet. We watched film of Montreal’s power play and their penalty kill. Once it got to questions, someone in the front asked something, then changed her mind about just what she was asking. BB responded with, “Typical women, can’t make up their mind.” That was followed by boos from the ladies and a “You set yourself up for that one” from Bruce. A funny moment that came up during the PP discussion was about Alex Ovechkin and his defense on the man advantage. When they watch film and it’s pointed out that Ovi doesn’t get back well enough if he misses a pass that gives the other team a short handed chance, the Great 8 tells Gabby, “Don’t worry, coach. They score one goal, I score two.” He almost got onto the topic of refs and he didn’t even want to get started with that. “I start to sweat, and I use every variation of a four letter word.”
Next up was the equipment session with none other than Brett Leonhardt. We learned about why it always looks like the guys’ hockey pants look ripped. There’s actually a zipper that the can adjust, and it gives them better motion when they’re skating. I was by a few cougar-looking hockey moms who wouldn’t shut up. Pretty sure they were a little drunk from the open bar. When it came time to race to get the equipment on, one of them was cheerleading, while the others had a beer in one hand and used the other to try and put shin pads on. Funny stuff. Stretch could tell some women had had a few drinks by the questions they were asking…
Finally, we went to Chalk Talk with Lisa Hillary and ex-Cap Alan May. Since I don’t think I was even born when May played, I didn’t know how much he fought. He was talking about a time when he was a little kid and he ran over the goalie. His dad asked him, “Why’d you do that?” “I couldn’t help it!” Alan May likes to run over goalies and mess with goalies. Someone brought up Sean Avery punching Varly in the face twice, and Alan said that’s what he LOVED to do. He’d run into the goalie or do something to them that would cause a guy to come over an fight him. A question was asked about Alexander Semin and why he was so inconsistent, even though people have said he has more talent than Ovechkin. May thought that Semin is, in fact, more talented the Ovi, but that his heart does really burn with the passion that Ovi’s does.
After everything wrapped up, there was a long line to get all of our books signed by Bruce. I told that if he ever needed someone to step in for Dave Steckel, he could call me. I did good in the faceoff circle.
If you actually got throught the entire post, bless your heart. If you’re a lady Caps fan, be sure to try to get tickets to the next Hockey ‘n Heels. You’ll have a fabulous time.