WASHINGTON — The Capitals put last year on ice, as the regular season got underway Wednesday evening at Capital One Arena. But the team and its fans enjoyed every minute of that championship before they had to move on.
“Everyone tonight will have this big crescendo celebration as we put up the banner in front of all the fans. And then we start a new season,” Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis told WTOP. “No one cares, after they drop the puck, what happened last season. Everything starts anew.”
Besides the pre-game banner raising ceremony, a moment that’s more than 40 years in the making, fans inside the Capital One Arena got pictures and autographs with Caps players, said Caps in-game host Adam Kelsey.
Those who can’t get inside to see the history firsthand Wednesday night will still be able to celebrate outside during an outdoor viewing party at G and Seventh streets in Northwest D.C. The outdoor video board will show both the ceremony and the game against the Boston Bruins.
(The Boston Bruins, it should be noted, are not the defending Stanley Cup champions.)
The viewing party caps off a festive Wednesday around this championship town. It all began at 10:15 a.m. with a morning skate at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex. At 11 a.m., the renovated Capital One Arena Team Store opened on F Street.
At 4 p.m., a “Rock the Red Carpet” event began, and continued until 5:30 p.m. Players for the 2018-2019 team arrived between and Sixth and Seventh streets Northwest and were escorted down the carpet with selected fans. Caps alumni and mascots also walked the red carpet.
At 6 p.m., the doors to Capital One Arena opened. (The Capital One Cardholder Entrance on Sixth Street opened at 5:45 p.m.) Fans were encouraged to arrive early so they can be in their seats for the ceremony.
At 6:30 p.m., the viewing party began. Both the pregame banner-raising ceremony and the game itself was shown on the video board above the McDonald’s on G Street. Fans were strongly encouraged to take Metro.
The banner-raising ceremony began at 7:15 p.m.
The puck dropped at 7:30 p.m.
Traffic and parking restrictions
Because of all the activity around the arena, the District has announced these street closures and parking restrictions. (Please note this information is subject to change.)
Traffic restrictions from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.:
- F Street from Sixth to Seventh streets Northwest (2:30–10:30 p.m.)
- G Street from Seventh to Ninth streets Northwest (accessible only to local residents and monthly parking pass holders)
- Eighth Street from G to H streets Northwest
No parking from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.:
- On G Street Northwest between Seventh and Ninth streets
- On F Street Northwest between Sixth and Ninth streets
- On Seventh, between E and H streets
WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report.
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