Chants rang throughout the Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille on Century Boulevard in Germantown on June 7 following the Washington Capitals’ 4-3 Stanley Cup victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.
Washington’s National Hockey League franchise put the sports world on notice that the nation’s capital is also a hockey town.
Tracy Ambush, a local party promoter and Washington sports fan, was the ringleader on this particular night.
The popular chant “C-A-P-S, Caps Caps Caps,” was accompanied by “Ovi-Ovi-Ovi,” in reference to popular Capitals left winger Alexander Ovechkin, who was named MVP of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Ovechkin celebrated the win with teammates on the ice in Las Vegas moments after the monumental victory stamped the Capitals’ place in D.C. sports lore.
Fans also celebrated the Capitals win that broke the “D.C. curse,” an omen that has hung around the city for years.
Postseason futility has haunted Washington’s professional sports teams over the years. Not since 1992 had a major Washington professional sports franchise captured a title.
“We got to get the Redskins or the Wizards to win, or the Nats,” said Mike Grimm, a 65-year-old Rockville native.
The Redskins’ Super Bowl victory over the Buffalo Bills in January of 1992 marked the last time a Washington team celebrated a professional sports championship.
Grimm, an Albert Einstein High School graduate, celebrated the Capitals’ Stanley Cup victory at Bar Louie in Rockville.
“I think it’s great,” said Grimm. “It’s a win for Ovechkin and the rest of the team. It’s a great thing that he got it so he can retire with that one.”
The Capitals’ Stanley Cup win was also significant because it occurred 40 years to the day the Washington Bullets captured the NBA championship with a 4-3 series victory over the Seattle Supersonics in 1978.
For years, Washington sports fans have supported the Capitals, especially since the team has fallen short in reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
However, this season the Capitals finally had a breakthrough, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in their second round series to provide a glimmer of hope. Washington beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in a seven-game series, 4-3, before dispatching Vegas in five games, 4-1.
“I’m not shocked at all,” said Lizbeth Medina, 27, a Capitals fan since the age of eight, “because I’ve always said if we get through the Pens we could take it all.”
Tuesday’s victory parade was a long time coming for a city that had gone more than two decades without a major professional sports title.
Fans filled the streets to toast the D.C. team that captured the franchise’s first championship in their 44-year history.
Grimm noted that he’s attended 10 Capitals game during the past two seasons and has cheered on the team since its inception in 1974.
“The curse has been broken,” said Grimm. “I’m glad for them.”