DULLES, Va. — At the end of a historic night for the Washington Capitals, several dozen superfans were favored with a glimpse of the Prince of Wales Trophy at Dulles International Airport.
Shortly before 3 a.m. Thursday, approximately four hours after the final horn at Amalie Arena where the Caps won the Eastern Conference Championship for the first time in 20 years, the team’s chartered Delta flight arrived at Dulles Airport.
First off the plane was captain Alex Ovechkin, holding the championship trophy in his right hand, rolling his luggage with his left.
As fans — many sporting Ovechkin replica jerseys with number 8 — rang cowbells and exhorted the team to “go for the Cup,” Ovi hoisted the trophy and smiled.
As players walked to their cars, some stopped to shake hands and pose for pictures with thrilled fans.
One of these men is going to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in his career. The other is going to blog in his basement about it. From everyone at @russianmachine, way to go @ovi8! pic.twitter.com/PPPBnk6Eqa
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) May 24, 2018
Fan Andy Altman and his family watched the game on their big TV screen at home.
“We decided, once we knew the game was done, that we’d come out and meet them again, like we did after the Pittsburgh win,” he said, holding one end of a homemade “Stanley Cup!!!” sign.
Within five minutes, as team personnel and Airports Authority Police officers provided security, the players were on their way home to get some sleep.
They’ll be back at the airport soon enough when they fly out for Monday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Las Vegas.