C-A-P-S! Thousands of fans celebrate Stanley Cup champs in DC

WASHINGTON — A sea of red and waves of fervent chants engulfed downtown D.C. Tuesday as thousands of fans raucously cheered on the city’s Stanley Cup champions. And after the festivities, fans streamed into nearby Metro stations, crowding platforms and creating lines at entrances.

Washington Capitals fans have waited 44 years for this day, and things like work and school became secondary to Tuesday’s parade down Constitution Avenue and the rally on the National Mall.

“Every time I’m driving on Constitution, for the rest of my life, I’m going to remember this day,” Caps goalie Braden Holtby told a screaming crowd at the rally.

Teammate T.J. Oshie started a new chant and goal: “Back to back! Back to back! Back to back!”

Captain Alex Ovechkin closed out the day’s celebrations, gathering his teammates to the front of the stage to sing Queen’s “We Are The Champions” with the crowd. He yelled, “We’re the Stanley Cup champions!” and hoisted the nearly 35-pound Cup over his head.

A Red Line train toward Shady Grove is crowded as Caps fans make their way home on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
A Red Line train toward Shady Grove is crowded as Caps fans make their way home on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
The crowd reacts to the appearance of star Alex Ovechkin on stage. Ovechkin was the Final MVP. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
The crowd reacts to the appearance of star Alex Ovechkin on stage. Ovechkin was the Final MVP. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Platforms at the Smithsonian Metro station are crowded but manageable on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Platforms at the Smithsonian Metro station are crowded but manageable on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
The National Mall saw a burst of red with Caps fans gathered for Tuesday's rally. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
The National Mall saw a burst of red with Caps fans gathered for Tuesday’s rally. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream) (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
Metro Transit Police at times metered crowds at fare gates and escalators. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Metro Transit Police at times metered crowds at fare gates and escalators. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
The National Mall saw a burst of red with Caps fans gathered for Tuesday's rally. (Screenshot via EarthCam)
The National Mall saw a burst of red with Caps fans gathered for Tuesday’s rally. (Screenshot via EarthCam) (Screenshot via EarthCam)
The National Mall saw a burst of red with Caps fans gathered for Tuesday's rally. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
The National Mall saw a burst of red with Caps fans gathered for Tuesday’s rally. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream) (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
(Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 12:  Alex Ovechkin of the NHL champion Washington Capitals holds up the Stanley Cup during a victory parade along Contitution Avenue June 12, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 12: Alex Ovechkin of the NHL champion Washington Capitals holds up the Stanley Cup during a victory parade along Contitution Avenue June 12, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Pool)
Caps fans gather on the National Mall in D.C. for the rally. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
Caps fans gather on the National Mall in D.C. for the rally. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream) (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
The parade is underway. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
Fans gathered along Constitution Avenue for the parade. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream) (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
A bird's eye view of Caps fans gathered on the National Mall for the rally. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
A bird’s eye view of Caps fans gathered on the National Mall for the rally. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream) (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
The Stanley Cup champs make their way through Constitution Avenue during the parade. (Screenshot via livestream)
The Stanley Cup champs make their way through Constitution Avenue during the parade. (Screenshot of via NBC Washington livestream) (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
The Stanley Cup champs sat atop a bright red bus for the parade. (Screenshot of via NBC Washington livestream)
The Stanley Cup champs sat atop a bright red bus for the parade. (Screenshot of via NBC Washington livestream) (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
Capitals fans are lined up, awaiting their Stanley Cup champs. (WTOP/Jonathan Warner)
Capitals fans are lined up, awaiting their Stanley Cup champs. (WTOP/Jonathan Warner) (WTOP/Jonathan Warner)
Caps fans pour onto the National Mall for the rally and to get in position to see the parade. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Caps fans pour onto the National Mall for the rally and to get in position to see the parade. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
WTOP’s Mike Murillo talks to ecstatic Caps fans along Constitution Avenue. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Capitals fans line up to buy Stanley Cup merchandise. (WTOP/Jonathan Warner)
Capitals fans line up to buy Stanley Cup merchandise. (WTOP/Jonathan Warner) (WTOP/Jonathan Warner)
(WTOP/Jonathan Warner)
(WTOP/Jonathan Warner)
WTOP’s Mike Murillo talked to some Caps fans lining the parade route; some of them have been there for hours. (WTOP/Jonathan Warner)
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser posted this photo of the crowd to her Twitter account. (Courtesy MurielBowser via Twitter)
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser posted this photo of the crowd to her Twitter account. (Courtesy MurielBowser via Twitter) (Courtesy MurielBowser via Twitter)
Parkway Drive near Memorial Bridge is blocked for the tour bus staging as of 8:55 a.m. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Parkway Drive near Memorial Bridge is blocked for the tour bus staging as of 8:55 a.m. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Fans arriving at Metro Federal Triangle Station ahead of the Caps' victory parade and rally in June 2018. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
Fans arriving at Federal Triangle Metro Station ahead of the Caps’ victory parade and rally. (WTOP/Melissa Howell) (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
With hours still to go before the parade officially starts, Caps' fans are already lining the parade route along Constitution Avenue. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
With hours still to go before the parade officially starts, Caps’ fans are already lining the parade route along Constitution Avenue. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
The buses that will be carrying the Capitals and other people in the parade start to get in position. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
The buses that will be carrying the Capitals and other people in the parade start to get in position. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Line up signs being placed near the Lincoln Memorial. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Line up signs being placed near the Lincoln Memorial. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Hundreds of port-a-potties are lined up along Constitution Avenue on the grounds of the Washington Monument, but they are all on the Mall side of the street, none are on the White House side of Constitution Avenue. Since you won't be able to cross the street during the parade, you might want to plan on making a pit stop before hand. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Hundreds of port-a-potties are lined up along Constitution Avenue on the grounds of the Washington Monument, but they are all on the Mall side of the street; none are on the White House side of Constitution Avenue. Since you won’t be able to cross the street during the parade, you might want to plan on making a pit stop before hand. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
The parade doesn't officially kick-off until 11 a.m., but fans were lining up along the parade route hours before then. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
The parade doesn’t officially kick-off until 11 a.m., but fans were lining up along the parade route hours before then. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
A vendor sells Caps' pennants along the parade route. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
A vendor sells Caps pennants along the parade route. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Caps fans arriving at 7th and Constitution hours before the parade starts to get their spot along the route. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Caps fans arriving at 7th and Constitution hours before the parade starts to get their spot along the route. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Metro said fans can grab rally signs when leaving most of Metro's downtown stations on Tuesday. (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter)
Metro said fans can grab rally signs when leaving most of Metro’s downtown stations on Tuesday. (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter) (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter)
So when was the last time D.C. saw a parade like this? It was after the Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1992. WMATA shared these photos of Redskins fans heading to the victory rally on the National Mall. (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter)
So when was the last time D.C. saw a parade like this? It was after the Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1992. WMATA shared these photos of Redskins fans heading to the victory rally on the National Mall. (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter) (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter)
Fans heading up one of Metro's escalators on their way to the Redskins victory rally in 1992. D.C. United had a smaller parade after winning an MLS title in 1997, but the last time D.C. saw a championship of the size of the Caps' victory parade was after the Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1992. (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter)
D.C. United had a smaller parade after winning an MLS title in 1997, but the last time D.C. saw a championship of the size of the Caps’ victory parade was after the Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1992. (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter) (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter)
Fans taking Metro on their way to the Redskins victory rally on the National Mall in 1992, that was the last time D.C. saw a victory parade of this size. (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter)
Fans taking Metro on their way to the Redskins victory rally on the National Mall in 1992 — that was the last time D.C. saw a victory parade of this size. (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter) (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter)
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A Red Line train toward Shady Grove is crowded as Caps fans make their way home on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
The crowd reacts to the appearance of star Alex Ovechkin on stage. Ovechkin was the Final MVP. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Platforms at the Smithsonian Metro station are crowded but manageable on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
The National Mall saw a burst of red with Caps fans gathered for Tuesday's rally. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
Metro Transit Police at times metered crowds at fare gates and escalators. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
The National Mall saw a burst of red with Caps fans gathered for Tuesday's rally. (Screenshot via EarthCam)
The National Mall saw a burst of red with Caps fans gathered for Tuesday's rally. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 12:  Alex Ovechkin of the NHL champion Washington Capitals holds up the Stanley Cup during a victory parade along Contitution Avenue June 12, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images)
Caps fans gather on the National Mall in D.C. for the rally. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
The parade is underway. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
A bird's eye view of Caps fans gathered on the National Mall for the rally. (Screenshot via NBC Washington livestream)
The Stanley Cup champs make their way through Constitution Avenue during the parade. (Screenshot via livestream)
The Stanley Cup champs sat atop a bright red bus for the parade. (Screenshot of via NBC Washington livestream)
Capitals fans are lined up, awaiting their Stanley Cup champs. (WTOP/Jonathan Warner)
Caps fans pour onto the National Mall for the rally and to get in position to see the parade. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Capitals fans line up to buy Stanley Cup merchandise. (WTOP/Jonathan Warner)
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser posted this photo of the crowd to her Twitter account. (Courtesy MurielBowser via Twitter)
Parkway Drive near Memorial Bridge is blocked for the tour bus staging as of 8:55 a.m. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Fans arriving at Metro Federal Triangle Station ahead of the Caps' victory parade and rally in June 2018. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
With hours still to go before the parade officially starts, Caps' fans are already lining the parade route along Constitution Avenue. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
The buses that will be carrying the Capitals and other people in the parade start to get in position. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Line up signs being placed near the Lincoln Memorial. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Hundreds of port-a-potties are lined up along Constitution Avenue on the grounds of the Washington Monument, but they are all on the Mall side of the street, none are on the White House side of Constitution Avenue. Since you won't be able to cross the street during the parade, you might want to plan on making a pit stop before hand. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
The parade doesn't officially kick-off until 11 a.m., but fans were lining up along the parade route hours before then. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
A vendor sells Caps' pennants along the parade route. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Caps fans arriving at 7th and Constitution hours before the parade starts to get their spot along the route. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Metro said fans can grab rally signs when leaving most of Metro's downtown stations on Tuesday. (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter)
So when was the last time D.C. saw a parade like this? It was after the Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1992. WMATA shared these photos of Redskins fans heading to the victory rally on the National Mall. (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter)
Fans heading up one of Metro's escalators on their way to the Redskins victory rally in 1992. D.C. United had a smaller parade after winning an MLS title in 1997, but the last time D.C. saw a championship of the size of the Caps' victory parade was after the Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1992. (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter)
Fans taking Metro on their way to the Redskins victory rally on the National Mall in 1992, that was the last time D.C. saw a victory parade of this size. (Courtesy WMATA via Twitter)

Caps owner Ted Leonsis also spoke at the rally, noting the sense of community solidified between the team, the fans and the city.

“Now, we have something that bonds us and unites us: a Stanley Cup championship!” Leonsis said.

METRO

Thousands of fans attempting to get down to the parade made for long lines at Metro stations.

 

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Metro said over 567,000 people have used Metrorail so far.

 

There was at least one incident on Metro earlier in the day. A deer somehow wandered into the tunnel at the Crystal City station and ended up at the station before it managed to safely exit.

THE PARADE

The Caps parade kicked off with F-16s from the D.C. National Guard flying over the Potomac River toward Independence Avenue and 23rd Street Northwest near the parade route.

Then, cheers of “Ovi! Ovi! Ovi!” mixed with the blares of triumphant bagpipes as the Caps made their way down Constitution Avenue on a bright red bus. Goaltender Philipp Grubauer even ran on the street, clutching a D.C. flag as he gave fans high-fives with a huge grin on his face.

Some fans showed up several hours before the 11 a.m. parade start to stake out their spot along the parade route.

“I was thinking of taking a nap,” one Caps fan who works nights told WTOP’s Neal Augenstein. “But there’s too much excitement in the air, so I’m just going to take it all in and chant when everyone else chants.”

Joe and his 10-year-old son, Joey, from Bethesda, Maryland, also showed up early and had been waiting for several hours. But for Joe, and lots of other Caps fans, the wait has been a lot longer.

“I told Joey, I had to wait 44 years for this,” he told WTOP’s Mike Murillo. “He had to wait 10 years, so he wins.”

Another father and son duo, enjoying their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the shade, spoke to WTOP’s Kristi King. Dad Jesse Kellmer said, “We came all the way from Harwood, Maryland; we rode the Metro, which is scary to us rural people, and we came down to the city to celebrate with the rest of the Caps fans.”

“We’re hoping that this parade is contagious and the other D.C. sports franchises catch on,” Kellmer added.

“I’m so excited,” said one woman who had a front-row view to the parade along Constitution Avenue. She was there with friends and coworkers. One coworker, donning a Caps jersey, chimed in, “It’s about damn time it [the Cup] showed up here! We’re super pumped! Let’s go Caps!”

“C-A-P-S! CAPS! CAPS! CAPS!”

There wasn’t a shortage of marching bands at the parade: The Eastern High School Blue and White Marching Machine Marching Band, the Ballou High School Majestic Knights Marching Band and the D.C. Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes and Drums all performed.

Some Caps alumni, the Capital One Arena ice crew, the Capitals Red Rockers and mascot Slapshot also made appearances.

Constitution Avenue was closed to pedestrians. There were hundreds of port-a-potties in place along Constitution Avenue on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Security fences were set up along Constitution Avenue from 23rd Street all the way down to 6th Street.

FEDERAL WORKERS

The federal government remained open, but the White House encouraged federal agencies to grant employees two hours of administrative leave between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to attend the parade, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The Caps also offered fans a doctor’s note to help get out of work for the day.

WTOP’s Patrick Roth, Teta Alim, Kristi King, Neal Augenstein, Melissa Howell and Mike Murillo contributed to this report.


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