16 April, 2014

At Frozen Country Club, for Outdoor Fun

Want ideal weather for an outdoor skate conceived to thrill hundreds of young hockey fans in lower Montgomery County, Maryland? Try Tuesday night’s 32 degrees at 6:00 p.m. in Chevy Chase, Md., where the Caps — many outfitted in ski caps under their helmets — skated for 45 minutes under the lights at the gorgeous Chevy Chase Country Club’s outdoor ice rink.
This was the second straight year that the Caps traveled to Chevy Chase for such a skate, and being there among the club’s spectators, we left it hoping that it becomes an annual tradition. Coach Boudreau told us afterward, “Every [NHL] team should do something like this . . . [the fans] see the human element of guys laughing and having fun.” He’s right. The practice itself was as easy-going as the holiday mood surrounding it (complete with strings of seasonal lights hung about the plexiglass): basic passing drills, some two-on-ones against goalies at boths ends, and finally a bit of non-checking three-on-three shinny. This was an event mostly about the team connecting with its community, in a novel setting, in perfect conditions.
Initially, fans — especially the younger ones — wondered at Alexander Ovechkin’s absence from the practice. He was at the Club all right — but inside, warm, signing who knows how many autographs. Outside, perhaps two hundred spectators followed the Caps’ light workout, the overwhelming majority of them bantam-aged or younger. Chevy Chase’s west side of the rink affords spectators a slightly elevated view of the ice sheet, and from north goal line to far blue line the plexiglass was hard-pressed with wide-eyed kids.
We noticed a couple of things about this outdoor ice sheet Tuesday night. One, the puck traveled fast and firm and flat throughout; also, light snow built up on it quickly. Atmospheric conditions were perfect for the Caps, but so too was Chevy Chase’s surface. We asked Coach Boudreau and Mike Green to compare it to Verizon’s sheet and received some candid responses. Enjoy.


  1. Gustafsson wrote:

    We were rolling our tape when ComcastSportsNet interviewed Boudreau as well. Here it is.

    5 December, 2007 at 4:42 am | Permalink
  2. Jordan wrote:

    Weird that both Coach and Mike Green avoided burying the Verizon center. I wonder if they’ve been told not to, or if they just don’t feel it’s that bad.

    5 December, 2007 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
  3. Boo! wrote:

    Jordan – they are probably just being politically correct.

    5 December, 2007 at 6:49 pm | Permalink
  4. Jordan wrote:

    Boo! – You must be right, because Chris Clark had some strong words to tell Tarik about the ice. Check it out: http://jordanwoll.com/caphits/?p=28

    5 December, 2007 at 7:26 pm | Permalink
  5. Grooven wrote:

    It sounds like they just need it to snow in the Verizon Center for games. :)

    6 December, 2007 at 1:37 am | Permalink
  6. dmg wrote:

    Ha, I love the look on Green’s face when he’s asked how it compares to Verizon Center.

    6 December, 2007 at 3:30 am | Permalink
  7. Smitty wrote:

    Jordan – Sounds more like typical Canadian politeness and subtlety to me ;)

    6 December, 2007 at 12:23 pm | Permalink