Knuble’s comments on Caps fans were tame, but let’s put an end to some blanket statements

Knuble Next To Knuuuuble Sign

Knuble Next To Knuuuuble Sign (Photo credit: clydeorama)

Former Washington Capital Mike Knuble didn’t say anything incredibly alarming about DC hockey fans on Philadelphia radio today. According to a transcription from the Washington Post’s constantly-transcribing Dan Steinberg, Knuble was asked what Philadelphia is like as a hockey market and he replied:

“It’s great. You talked about New York and Boston, I mean, it’s just tradition. Being a Flyers fan, being with the Flyers is passed down from generation to generation. Washington, everybody’s a new fan. Nobody’s from there really, they’re kind of just jumping on the bandwagon.  But the cities like Boston, New York, Philly, Detroit, it’s like my grandfather was watching, my grandfather was a fan, he passed it to his son, then he passes it to HIS son. It’s all the way down.

That statement’s not the end of the world. And the four cities Knuble mentions are bigger hockey towns than DC; three of them are Original Six teams that date back to the 1920s and all four have won multiple Stanley Cups. There’s a lot of hockey history there.

But I will say this as a lifelong Caps fan and a native of the DC suburbs: My Maryland-born dad, whose parents were also Maryland-born, passed his love of hockey down to me and took my family to Caps games as a kid; to say we became huge fans feels like an understatement (this is a good excuse for me to link to one of my favorite Steinberg posts ever). I then passed my love for the Caps along to my now-five-year-old, hockey-crazy son, who has a Knuble jersey, a puck and stick he got from Knuble (the guy has always struck me as the epitome of class act) and a Knuble autographed picture in his room. I had to take some time to think about how to break it to him that Knuble was no longer a Cap after last season.

That makes three generations rooting madly for the Caps, a team that’s about the same age as I am, the middle of those three. And the DC area absolutely does have a ton of residents who aren’t from the region originally. But my family is far from the only one who can share a story of Caps tradition like the above, so let’s put an end to the untrue, blanket statements like ‘nobody’s from DC’ and ‘everybody’s a new fan.’ While I understand why they exist, these broad generalizations have grown tiresome and just keep creating more of the same talk.

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About Mike Holden

Mike Holden is a blogger and communications professional who also writes at mikeholden.com. He can be found on Twitter at @mikeholden. Read more of his sports writing.

Posted on February 8, 2013, in NHL, Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. You forgot to mention your nephew who lives in another state but has worn his Ovechkin jersey for 10 straight days.

    • My nephew’s a Caps fan, no doubt! There’s much I could have mentioned but I was trying to keep it brief. He’s a third generation Caps fan and it was just pointed out to me by my sister that both his paternal and maternal grandparents were Caps season ticket holders before the Ovechkin era. I think that might count as “tradition.”

  2. I can share a similar story to yours. I was born in Maryland, my dad raised my sisters and me to be rabid Caps fans, and now I’m raising my two boys (7 & 5) to be fans too. The only difference is that my dad is originally from Philadelphia, but he moved to Maryland about the same time as the Caps were founded and began following them from the beginning. I think you’ll find lots of Caps fans like this.

  3. Born and raised in Baltimore and a Caps full season ticket holder since Ovechkin’s rookie year. Before you can say “bandwagon”, here’s a little history…

    I used to watch NHL games in the early days of ESPN in the mid 80′s and fell in love with the game (especially playoff hockey). Soon after, my dad took me to a Skipjacks game and live hockey became a passion. I started to religiously follow the Caps on TV (Home Team Sports!) and, naturally, this led to my first live NHL game at the Capital Centre.

    My attachment to the team only solidified as started college and I spent all of my disposable income on a few games a year with friends in the early 90′s. Over the years, I’d take friends, dates, and my dad to games to share my passion. Not surprisingly, each and every one of them were hooked to the game and the team.

    As the years have gone by, and my disposable income increased, I’ve been able to graduate from partial plans to full season tickets after the last lockout (wait, the 2004-05 one!). Becoming a full season was a dream and goal I’ve always had and the stars aligned for me to finally attain it (affordability and availability after the team’s Jagr-experiment, fire sale, and NHL lockout).

    In summary, even though I’ve only been a full season ticket holder since the Ovechkin Era, the seeds and fandom have been there for almost 3 decades now.

  4. Wow saying I’m a bandwagon fan? I grew up in Alexandria I remember watching the caps play at that dreadful Mount Vernon ice center. I’ve got autographed pucks from Planet Al and Mr. Bondra as well as OV. Yet I’m a bandwagon fan. Nice one Knuble.

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