Rivalries run deep, but one of the best in the AHL is...
Getting to Know the Brouwer Rangers
The Brouwer Rangers (All Photos by Philip Van der Vossen)
Everyone needs a break, a diversion from the trials and routines of work and family. Some people go to see a movie or concert, some take up a hobby or join a recreational sports team, and some dress up in red Power Ranger outfits and head to the Verizon Center to cheer on the Caps. They are the Brouwer Rangers.
Formerly Knuble’s Knights and wanting only to be known as Red Ranger Ryan and Red Ranger Nathan, they are season ticket holders and avid fans. They choose to focus their enthusiasm on Caps right winger, Troy Brouwer. “After it became clear that Knuble would not be returning, we knew we wanted to cheer for someone new this season,” said the Rangers. “Brouwer was always at the top of our list because of the type of player he is – a solid contributor who isn’t really a ‘superstar’.”
So, what came first, the choice to support Brouwer or the outfits? “It certainly helps that there was a relatively easy character to go along with the fan club, and his name fits in a lot of sign puns like Brouwer Pouwer, the Big Lebrouwski and the Brouwitzer,” they explained. But their steadfast respect for #20 and choice to support the Caps’ forward came first.
There is no official relationship between the Washington Capitals organization and the Brouwer Rangers. They’ve had some contact with Troy Brouwer via Twitter and, recently, at a Washington Capitals season ticket holder party at Six Flags America, Red Ranger Nathan got their red helmets signed by Brouwer. They are simply fans – really big fans.
Red Ranger Nathan grew up in the Washington D.C. area and now works in communications. He attended Caps’ games growing up, but didn’t become an avid fan until five or six years ago. Red Ranger Ryan considers himself a ‘transplant’ from Indiana and works locally in sales. He became a Caps fan at about the same time. They met through a pick-up flag football game organized by the church they both attend. Both guys are married and they are happy to add, “Our wives are incredibly gracious in their support of our Brouwer Rangers.”
The Brouwer Rangers are a fan favorite at the Caps’ games. It’s hard not to notice them walking through the Verizon Center. “Most just laugh or give us a high five, others will shout out ‘Brouwer Rangers’ or ‘Brouwer Pouwer’ as we walk by, and of course quite a few ask for a photo with us,” they recall. “We even had a D.C. cop stop and take our picture a few games ago while we were waiting for the doors to open.”
As Knuble’s Knights and, today, as Brouwer Rangers, the fan club has always supported Washington Capitals charities. They sell t-shirts with the club logo. “Right now the plan is to donate the proceeds to the Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation (charitable efforts of the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics) “We’ve also offered to donate to a charity of Troy Brouwer’s choice,” they said. “We are not looking to make any money off this – just have fun and, if we can, help a few people along the way.”
Right now, there are only two Brouwer Rangers. “Technically, we guess you would need to get a full Brouwer Ranger uniform to join us,“ they offer. But the guys truly believe that anyone who appreciates what Troy Brouwer brings to the team and cheers for him is a Brouwer Ranger at heart!
Go! Go! Brouwer Rangers!
Follow the Brouwer Rangers on Twitter.
— Troy Brouwer (@tbrouwer20) April 13, 2013
— Troy Brouwer (@tbrouwer20) April 12, 2013