Well the game at the Verizon Center didn’t go as planned. The Admirals dropped a close game to the Bears 2-1. My wife and I took the Metro back to Crystal City and called it a night. The next day we had planned to drive over to the Capitals Training facility. The Kettler Capitals IcePlex sits on the 8th floor of a complex that holds not only the training facility, but offices, a mall, and the parking structure.
We had hoped to catch a few Capital players out on the ice. During the lockout they have been renting the ice to keep themselves warmed up and ready for the season. Lately Jay Beagle, John Carlson, and Jason Chimera have been on the ice, but we arrived a little late for their session. Imagine our surprise when we went to the Capitals rink and found our Admirals on the ice. We had thought that after the game they would have hopped on the bus and headed off to Binghamton. They decided to stay the night and catch an early morning practice. We had the chance to talk with the voice of the Admirals, Pete Michaud, for a little bit and then the Admirals packed up and headed off for a date with the Senators.
Now back to the facility. If you have been to Chilled Ponds out in Chesapeake and liked it then you would love Kettler. Kettler has two distinct sides to it. One side contains the Capitals administrative offices, training facilities, and their practice rink. The Capitals Rinks also has bleachers on one side for observing the on-ice activities. The other side has the commercial side with a small snack bar, pro shop, Capitals team store, and another rink. Both rinks are open to the public and are put to good use. They operate a in-house league for all skill levels and ages. Figure Skating, Freestyle, Dance, and Public sessions are also hosted. There is a 2nd level that has some open meeting space, observation deck of the rinks, and the pro shop, while small, has everything needed for the skaters. It consists of mainly hockey gear with a great selection of skates, sticks, and gear needed for the game. Skate sharpening is available with traditional and FBV (Flat Bottom V) sharpening. Pricing is competitive with items available from on-line sources.
Now my favorite part was the Capitals team store. the team store was a bit larger than the pro shop and had almost everything a Capitals fan could want. Sorry Pen’s fans…..Nothing for you here. Hoodies, jackets, shirts, hat, and Jerseys galore. Jerseys could have been customized there if you did not find one on the rack. They had the current jerseys, winter classic versions, and old school style customized with some of the old players in mind. I almost walked out with the Peter Bondra jersey. Since I have started playing the game myself I was looking for a Cap’s practice jersey, but that was the one item I wanted that they did not carry. Oh well, I was still in heaven. I have never seen so many Capitals items all in one place. If my wife had not been there with me I would have put a serious hurting on my bank account. We managed to find a few things to bring back home.
So the next morning we decided to head home to Virginia Beach. I decided to stop back at Kettler for one more look. I didn’t realize it was Saturday and the place was packed. Once we got in we discovered that there was a Cap’s blood drive going on. We decided to give up some blood for a good cause. We were rewarded with a Capitals mascot, Slapshot, bobble-head and a T-shirt. Not to shabby. Made one last purchase at the team store and then it was back on the road for the trip home. We had a great time and Kettler made it even better.