Capitals Host Hockey ‘n Heels at Kettler

Posted January 13, 2016

(Photos by Chase Pyke)

The Capitals hosted Hockey ‘n Heels at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Tuesday night, welcoming more than 200 female fans to interact with coach Barry Trotz, center Evgeny Kuznetsov and several other players.

This year attendees participated in both on-ice and off-ice activities, including broom ball with Kuznetsov and right winger Stanislav Galiev, “Beast Mode” with goalie Philipp Grubauer and Caps alumnus Sylvain Cote, a photo booth session with defenseman Aaron Ness and Q&A sessions with Trotz, Joe Beninati and Craig and Courtney Laughlin of CSN Mid-Atlantic.

The organization first held Hockey n’ Heels in 2007 and has put on the event at least once every year since, including the lockout-shortened season in 2013. With the creation of the league’s first all-female fan club, Scarlet Caps, in 2009, the Capitals have continued to reach out to the female members of their community of fans.

Hockey ‘n Heels is geared towards the female fan, an often marginalized demographic among sports fans according to some, including second-time attendee Brandi McFarland. “I think it’s awesome because we always talk about football and other sports and other sports don’t ever do this for woman compared to the Capitals.”

20160112_TrotzOthers, like season ticket holder and first-time Hockey ‘n Heels attendee Amy Roghenberger, don’t see the need to cater woman specifically. “I kind of came here out of curiosity because my personal philosophy is there shouldn’t be any going out of their way for female fans,” she said. “There’s no difference between a hockey fan and a female hockey fan, so I’ve always kind of wondered what tonight was like. I appreciate the event too but frankly I would sooner ditch something like this for more of a season ticket holder type-events over the course of the year.”

Regardless of whether the divide amongst genders is necessary, the events that make up Hockey ‘n Heels would be something any Caps fan would want to take part in, female and male. Hockey ‘n Heels is a unique fan experience that allows for interaction with players and other members of the Capitals’ organization, as well as an opportunity to learn more about the sport and the team.

What really matters are the growth of the sport and fan base according to TV color analyst Craig Laughlin. “I think we have a huge fan base of females and I think that’s positive. There’s a good mix of male and female and that’s what really makes a franchise grow.”

“We see the great fan base [the Capitals] have here,” Trotz said. “It’s taken time. You wouldn’t say Washington is not a non-traditional market anymore. It’s a very good hockey market. And knowledgeable fans keep growing the game.”

Tickets for Hockey ‘n Heels were $65 for season ticket holders and $75 for general admission, with the option of adding a game ticket for $100. No timetable is set for next year’s edition, but most fans in attendance Tuesday would argue that the three and a half hours of Capitals exposure is well worth the price of admission.