Caps Affiliates Making News: Reaching Out to Fans in Reading, Hershey

Posted August 31, 2012

With the preseason just around the corner, it’s time for the PR departments to start kicking into high gear.  Both of the Capitals’ affiliates did so in style, with fan-focused meeting held in their respective home arenas.  In Reading, this meant the team’s annual Town Hall Meeting (held on Tuesday, August 28).  In Hershey, it was a Season Ticket Holders meeting Wednesday night.

While the Hershey meeting was a bit more exciting in a bombshell kind of way – New Logo! New Hershey Hall of Fame!  New Jerseys!  Skinny Macho Mascot!! – there was plenty to take away from both.

Reading Roundup (ECHL):

Slapshot, the mascot of the Reading Royals (Photo Credit M. Richter)

Some big names made the trek up to the Sovereign Center to greet Royals fans, including Capitals Assistant GM Don Fishman (cap-genius extraordinaire) and Hershey’s Head Coach Mark French.

The tone of the meeting was positive, with a general air of optimism from fans of the Caps’ newest affiliates.  Both Hershey and Capitals jerseys could be seen in the crowd seated at center ice, and Reading broadcaster Mark Thompson was quick to point out how much of a relief it will be to see Hershey fans cheering for the Royals instead of against them when the former-affiliates the South Carolina Stingrays come to town (that meeting will take place in late November, on the Wednesday before American Thanksgiving).

Topics discussed during the hour-long Q&A session included:

– The expected goalie situation (Philipp Grubauer, Dany Sabourin, Sergey Kostenko (technically AHL/ECHL-only at the moment), and Brandon Anderson are all expected to be in the Capitals system)

– The benefits of the quick commute for all franchises involved (the single hour of travel between Hershey and Reading means that players can potentially pick up extra ice time at the ECHL level on off-days when the schedules align).

– The Royals’ power play (most notably, the hope that it improves significantly over last year’s unusually poor performance.  In Coach Larry Courville’s defense, he’s had the Royals in the top quarter of the ECHL with the man advantage four out of five years).

Two local players took turns behind the microphone, as well.  Both returning defenseman Denny Urban (Pittsburgh) and newcomer Trevor Lewis (from Lititz, PA, and not to be confused with the Kings‘ player of the same name who spent time with the Stanley Cup yesterday) spoke about their hopes for the coming season.

Bears Bits (AHL):

Hershey’s new logo (Credit: The Hershey Bears)

Hershey stole the spotlight this week with a whole slew of announcements at their Wednesday meeting before a crowd of over 3,000 fans.  The franchise is entering its 75th season, so they’ve earned their right to some flashiness.

Most of the new and shiny items were of an aesthetic nature – a new logo (pictured at right), a return to the more traditional chocolate-and-white uniforms instead of the recent maroon colour-scheme, and a snazzy new look for their mascot Coco that plays up Coco’s well-documented fitness efforts over the past year.

In addition, the organization announced the formation of a Hershey Bears Hockey Club Hall of Fame, to be housed in the Giant Center just off the concourse.  The inaugural class will be inducted on a special “Hall of Fame Night” to be held on December 19th (the Bears are scheduled to host the Norfolk Admirals).

For those looking for a bit more in-depth logo action, the following video is courtesy of the Bears organization: