On January 12, Scarlet Caps hosted Hockey N’ Heels. Although there is some controversy about the event name, it is an opportunity to bring more women into the hockey fandom. This event taught all aspects of the game including: face-offs and slap shots, player nutrition, information about equipment. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn from the pros and to make new friends.
I’ve been to Hockey N’ Heels in the past and have been impressed with what I learned from players, coaches, and even the other fans I met. As this wasn’t my first rodeo, I was the resident expert in my group of friends (or so I labeled myself), which included the ladies from FiCP: Brittney, Renee and me, as well as my mom. My mom even got interviewed by Fox5 and was on the 11 o’clock news. She thinks she’s a big shot now! Once we checked in we were put into four different groups– we naturally Rocked the Red as the Red Group.
After an intro from Caps emcee Erin Magee, we were sent to the goalie experience with Phillip Grubauer. We got to don a blocker and glove and see what it takes to be a goaltender. Grubi was nice enough to put the mask on for us as our hands were encased in goalie gear. As each lady stood in front of the net, she faced a few slap shots and endured what a goalie goes through to stop a puck. Don’t worry though…we faced squishy soft pucks not the real deal. This was my second time with the goalie demo and trust me, this is tough! It gives you a whole new appreciation of how amazing Holtby and Grubi have been for us this season.
After we took our turns in the goal, it was off to slap shots and learning the basics of using the blade of the stick to move the puck back and forth before flinging it (hopefully) in the net. Each lady stood in front of the net and after one-on-one instruction, shot the puck. Again, this is way more difficult than it seems! I heard more than a few times how easy the guys make it look
Next, our group was escorted to the locker room area where we took pics of the team’s locker stalls and posed for photos with Aaron Ness. This year we were able to use props while posing, so it was more fun and we got to be goofy with Aaron. Unfortunately, we could not sit in the player’s stall like we did in previous years; however, we did see how much equipment each player needs. I really missed my equipment talks with Brock Myles. He has lots of little fun factoids about each player. Once we were done touring the locker room, it was off to play some broomball!
With Broomball we were split groups with either Evgeny Kuznetzov or Stanislav Galiev. Our group was paired with Stan and he was awesome! This event brought a lot of laughs because were playing on the ice and we all know, ICE IS SLIPPERY! More than a few ladies slipped but luckily no one was injured. Broomball was probably my favorite part of the night. I was in net for my team and I got scored on three times. We lost. Boo. While Stan had more than ample opportunity to show his skills, he was a good teammate and passed the ball allowing the ladies to try and score. He did get one past me and it motivated me to stop him the other times. It’s not every day you get to stop a professional hockey player’s shots on goal. Thank you Stan for being an awesome guy!
We were off to meet with Joe B and Locker and they were THE BEST!! Thesaid they are like a real life “Odd Couple”. As funny as those two were, they gave us an educational look into what it takes to do their job. There is so much preparation that goes into a nightly broadcast. They have to research stats and information on both teams. they have a script and a 50-page info packet from the league which is part of hours of time and effort they put into making sure we have an enjoyable viewing experience. I may be biased, but after hearing some broadcasts from other team’s home perspectives, I can say with full certainty that we definitely have the best!!
After laughing with Joe B and Locker, we left to listen to a linesman give us some inside info on what the refs and linesman go through during a game, explaining how difficult it is for them to make sure they make the right call on the ice. I know we give refs a hard time when they make a call that we deem as bad, but they really do try and make the best calls. After the officials, it was off to Barry Trotz.
This was the second year Barry Trotz has been kind enough to stop by and speak at this event. We asked him all sorts of questions, getting his candid and hilarious responses. While some asked about his family or how Schmidt has grown as a player, I asked the ever important question: if he would divulge the secret “player of the game” thing they are doing this year. His answer was short and sweet. “No.” Followed by a chuckle, he said that “When it is deemed time for you to know, you’ll know.” I tried.
I have to say, I believe that this year’s Hockey N’ Heels was a success! I really enjoyed myself, as did many of the women I spoke to. I have always had fun, but I am glad that Scarlet Caps decided to change things up a little bit. They keep making hockey fun and informative. Scarlet Caps—you’re helping hockey in DC become a sport everyone can enjoy!
Written by Ashley Reid
Photos by Brittney Marcum and Ashley Reid