Capitals: Helping Make New Friends

FiCP was thrilled to play a part in bringing some Caps fans together. We love helping hockey fans meet and to see how the community builds friendships that last a lifetime. Our story starts in Texas and skates forward to the Capital One Arena!

Back in January 2019, Caps Fan Rob Dombrowski brought his wife and their seven-year old son and ten-year old daughter to their first hockey game at the Dallas Stars home game. Rob had it all planned out, where to park, what time the gates open, which section to run down to and it all worked to perfection.

Here is how Rob described the fun-filled night:

We were able to get right up against the glass, my kids proudly holding their signs they made “Drove 4 Hours to see The Champs” and “Our FIRST Game, #ALL CAPS” complete with players numbers and Ovechkin spelled out in Russian.  They knew that sometimes the players flipped warm up pucks over the glass, but all in all they were just so excited to be that close to the players that until that day they only had seen on TV watching Daddy’s childhood team, the Caps.
Growing up in Virginia I had been to plenty of games at the old Caps Centre, and was excited to have a chance to drive from Houston to Dallas over the holiday break to see our Caps.  Long story short, the really nice guy I was talking to turns out to be Gene Wu (@TheWuWu), who at the time was just another great Caps fan from the DC area there with his wife and son. 
About five minutes into warm ups, Alex Ovechkin came sprinting over towards us, jumped up into the glass, gathered a puck, looked over his shoulder at my kids and flipped the puck up and over the glass.  I just so happened to be filming with my phone in my left hand, and reached up with my right and snatched that ice cold puck out of the air and promptly handed it to my wide-eyed son who was just in shock!  We screamed “Thank you Ovi!” and he tapped the glass two times with his stick in a manner I can only guess was to say “you’re welcome.” 
I turned to my wife and said, “we can honestly just go back to the hotel right now, I don’t know how this night can get any better, even with a win!?”  It truly was an amazing moment we’ll never forget.
We talked to Gene for a few more minutes, and eventually had to go to our seats as the game was about to start.  Later that night, scrolling through Twitter, I saw a photo of Gene and Marcus at the game, and soon realized that I didn’t just meet a really nice guy, I met a really huge Caps fan with quite the following to boot”  

Fast forward to January 22, 2019, as I’m watching Ovi score his 3rd goal of the night, the camera pans the audience and who do we see?  Gene Wu and Marcus with his trademark Slapshot Mascot hat…my kids had their jaws on the floor and could not believe it was “our friends” from the game.  
Rob had tried to reach out to Gene on Facebook but had not been successful. And then he read our story: “Meet FiCP Capitals Fan of the Month: Gene Wu, aka Marcus’ Daddy, and he reached out to us for help meeting Gene. Rob was planning a February 2nd trip to the DC area to attend a funeral service for his mom’s best friend and brother’s Godmother, who battled cancer for years. Rob told us that “although this past year was rough, we all knew it was a matter of time and feel blessed that she is no longer suffering.” To his surprise, his mom suggested that they try and spend one day celebrating life and spend some family time together after the service and celebration of life has concluded.  His father passed in 2016, and his mother has had her own battles with cancer, even losing a kidney because of it.  Her suggestion ? For the family to go to a Caps game, so on Sunday February 3rd! It seemed like the perfect time to reunite with his new friend, Gene Wu.
We got in touch with Gene, who actually had not planned to attend the game, and yet he was excited to meet up with Rob and his family. Because that’s what Caps family does!

Funny thing- it really is a small world as Rob came to discover that Gene’s wife Vicki Wu used to teach at Park View High School, which is where Rob graduated from in 1993! Rob said:  “My brother, mom and me were just all in shock thinking what are the chances that at a random Caps game on the road in Dallas, I would end up meeting another Caps fan who turns out to be a Super Caps Fan who just happens to be married to someone that taught at my alma mater back in Sterling.”

We chatted for a while about some of the legendary teachers that my brother and I had who also were there when Vicki was there.  It was just a really cool moment.  My dad taught in Fairfax for over 30 years, I taught for 16 years before switching careers, and I can imagine my dad was looking down smiling at the whole situation and thrilled that his boys took their mother to a hockey game. Teachers seem to always have a way of finding each other in a crowd…”

A friend of Rob, who has seats behind the penalty box took a cue from himAnd his daughter Lauren wrote “I love Jakub Vrana” in Czech on a sign she made.  (Similar to the one with writing Ovechkin in Russian on their sign).  Guess who got a puck from Vrana that night during pre-game? If you guessed Lauren, you win.  Just goes to show what a classy organization with classy fan friendly players we have in Washington.

Gene also met up with FiCP write Bryce Jurkovac in Dallas. The Caps family is everywhere!!!

Author: Maggie Marcum

Managing Editor for Friends in Cold Places.

Leave a Reply