WASHINGTON (WDVM) – The Washington Capitals welcomed fans back to Capital One Arena Tuesday night at a limited 10 percent capacity (2,100 fans) as they hosted the New York Islanders.
The fans back in the arena were season ticket holders and frontline workers, including medical professionals, first responders, teachers and grocery workers, being honored for their service to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WDVM spoke with two first responders prior to the game from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue – Vice President of the Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation Lieutenant Matt Trivett and Master Fire Fighter Brian Vane.
Both Trivett and Vane agreed that it’s exciting to be back in the arena for a game, especially after the difficult past year.
“It’s nice to get back to some sort of normalcy,” Vane said. “I mean everyone from first responders to mom and dad at home, all the way down to the children, it’s affected everybody.”
Earlier this year, we told you about how fire departments in Montgomery County were honoring Capitals star Alex Ovechkin for each goal he scores. Ovechkin has 730 career goals, and each goal number since 700, has corresponded to a Montgomery County fire department.
When Vane heard the commentator announce goal number 701 last year scored by Ovechkin, he had coordinated for Montgomery County station number 701 in Silver Spring to pose for a photo and post it and tag the Capitals on social media.
“It was kind of by accident I should say, we just got back from a run, we were in the middle of watching a Caps game,” Vane said. “As soon as I heard that, I said let’s get a picture and send it to them as a congratulations. 701 goals is not easy.”
Trivett continued to the tradition, and stations have been saluting Ovechkin since. And since, a fundraiser has sprung from the pictures for Ovechkin.
“We carried it on from 701 to 730. As we’ve been doing this, we’ve had some half-jokingly comments from some Flyers fans and what not in our department asking us to stop,” Trivett said. “So we created a challenge where it’s team Caps vs. the world. It’s a fundraiser for the [Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Charitable] foundation, and basically we want to show who has the best fans.”
If you’re interested in donating the fundraiser, you can do so and find more info at this link.