Thousands of sports fans lined the streets of Washington, D.C., Tuesday, to celebrate the city’s championship-winning hockey team. Bus after bus of players, their families and officials rolled down the street along the National Mall while thousands watched and cheered.
The Washington Capitals took the Stanley Cup, North American professional hockey’s highest honor, Thursday night in a game against the Las Vegas Golden Knights. It was a history making event: the first championship win for the Caps, a team established 44 years ago.
The battle for the Stanley Cup takes place every year after the end of the National Hockey League’s regular season. The two teams that qualify for the final play in a best of seven games series.
The NHL includes teams from the United States and Canada.
Many people left work early and waited for hours to see their favorite players drive in the parade. Many fans wore red Capitals’ clothing. Especially popular were shirts that displayed the name of the team captain, goalie Alexander Ovechkin.
Many people held signs that read: “Ovechkin for President.”
Speechless, truly unbelievable
The win last week was an emotional moment for many fans.
“I was speechless, I was just standing there in amazement.”
Jeff Jaeger is from Prince Frederick, Maryland. He spoke to VOA while celebrating the Caps’ win on the National Mall.
“I’m not going to lie, I was tearing up. This is truly unbelievable.”
Other fans shared similar reactions once they knew the Capitals were going to win the championship.
Dominic, from Gaithersburg, Maryland, has been playing youth hockey for six years and has been a fan of the Capitals his whole life.
“I was in a hotel room in Buffalo for a hockey tournament, and our friend six rooms next to us said he could hear me screaming.”
For Deborah Bailey, from York, Pennsylvania, celebrating their win was a family moment.
“My son and I were watching it together, we were jumping up and down. I think somebody would've thought that somebody was getting murdered in my place."
A curse is lifted
No professional sports team from D.C. has won a championship since the Washington Redskins football team won the Super Bowl in 1992.
For Dominic Sculla, from Bethesda, Maryland, the Caps' win presents a brighter future.
“Finally… You know I’ve been waiting so long. I’ve played Hockey since I was a little boy, following the Caps forever. A city like D.C., is, some would say has been cursed for a while now. But the curse is lifted.”
For Lindsay and her friends from Chantilly, Virginia, the Capitals' win inspires city pride.
“We are the capital, we are supposed to have pride, and this just gives it to us, finally!”
Bringing people together
Fans of all ages and backgrounds talked about how the championship had brought the community together.
For Andrew Klink, from Maryland, the victory gives the D.C. community a chance to move beyond politics.
“I’ve been coming to games for 25 years… sport-wise we haven’t had a lot to celebrate recently, and we see other cities celebrating their championships and we want to bring everyone together and have something we can commonly celebrate, no politics or anything like that, just all good feelings.”
Jack and Olivia, who grew up as neighbors in D.C., rode their tandem bicycle around the National Mall to celebrate. They said the victory is positive news at a time when the D.C. community needs it.
“It brings D.C. together. Sports are something that, at least whether you’re like a fan that followed it all the way through, or just in the playoffs. It doesn't matter. It's an event that can bring the entire city together at a time where it’s kind of a little hectic right now.”
“In a place where politics are so huge, who cares, we’re Cup champions,” said Jeff Jaeger.
Jaegar’s friend Rod Bird said he has only been so excited a few other times in his life: when he got married, and when his two children were born.
“And that’s it,” Bird said.
I’m Phil Dierking.
Phil Dierking reported this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Do you think sports championships can bring people together? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.
Words in This Story
cursed - adj. affected by something bad
hectic - adj. very busy and filled with activity
inspire - v. to cause (something) to happen or be created
regular - adj. happening over and over again at the same time or in the same way
tandem - adj. working or happening together or at the same time