Capitals' playoff run creating excitement for hockey from kids to adults


The Capitals’ postseason run for the Stanley Cup is creating excitement for the sport of hockey from kids and adults alike.

The Caps lead the series 3-1 against the Vegas Golden Knights with Game 5 in Nevada on Thursday.

Visitors to the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington on Tuesday watched players hit the ice and bought up Caps gear.

It’s hard to choose a favorite player, but there’s a clear winner for 5-year-old Nico Nabors.

“Hmm, Ovechkin,” said the pre-kindergartener.

Nabors hopes to one day take his own spot on the ice with the Capitals.

“He says, ‘I want to be a hockey player. I want to go do that. I want to skate fast,’” said his mom Sylvia Cacciato.

Nico is just one of the many kids and adults looking into taking up the sport, all because of the Caps’ stellar season.

“You’re seeing an increase in number of people playing pickup, the number of kids out for youth hockey rec leagues and travel leagues. So you’re seeing it everywhere,” said Brad Danaceau, a pickup game hockey player.

Danaceau spent his lunch hour on the ice with other players. He says there are 18-year-olds to a 71-year-old former college player who often play with him. He says over the past few weeks, the atmosphere has changed and the excitement around the Washington Capitals is pouring into all levels of the sport.

“There’s people out there watching us play pick-up, that’s never happened before. It can’t be that exciting but they’re here. So, hockey’s hockey I guess,” Danaceau said with a smile.

Kettler Hockey director Brad Surdam has been skating since he was 3 years old and is a life-long hockey player and Capitals fan. He loves to see more kids and adults get into the sport.

“It’s amazing. It’s hard to put into words how exciting it,” he said. “The feeling around the rink and the excitement has been tremendous.”

He says while there is an peak in curiosity for the sport right now, it could grow even more.

“I think in the next couple of weeks, after the series concludes, that’s when you’re really going to see a lot of people say, ‘I want to try hockey. I want to see hockey’s all about,’” Surdam said.

Five-year-old Nico has dreams of playing hockey when he grows up, and although he’s not quite there yet, he’s getting practice in.

“He plays in the living room with a miniature stick and a foam puck and he repeats what the announcers are saying,” said his mom with a laugh.

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