Capitals Assign Christian Djoos to Hershey on Conditioning Assignment

Christian Djoos is inching closer to his return from a lower-body injury he suffered back on Dec. 11 in the Washington Capitals game against the Detroit Red Wings. Since his injury, the defense had struggled which led to a seven-game winless streak before the All-Star break. Djoos was slowly making progress and after some brief time in a light blue non-contact jersey, the second-year defenseman began fully practicing with the team this week.  Continue reading “Capitals Assign Christian Djoos to Hershey on Conditioning Assignment”

Hershey Spotlight: Jakub Vrana

Yeah yeah we know what you’re thinking about this spotlight “but he plays for the Caps.” Well that is true- but what is also true is that Jakub is on an entry-level contract from when he was drafted in 2014. If you do the math you would think his contract were up already, the  reason it isn’t is something called an entry-level slide.

This term refers to what happens to an ELC when a player has not played at least 10 games in the NHL in a season. The contract will then “slide” each season until this occurs. Jakub did not do that until the 2016-17 season which means his contract is good through the 2018-19 season. If the Caps do not ink a new deal before his contract expires he will become a restricted free agent and will also be ineligible for arbitration for another two seasons.

You all know how incredible Jakub Vrana is- from his play on the ice to his partying in the streets of DC. But just how good is he? And where did he come from?

Jakub was born in the Czech Republic in 1996 (22 years old) where he played for the majority of his early career prior to being drafted. He also put in a few years in the Swedish League from 2012-2014 with Linkopings HC where he earned the titles “Most Goals by a Junior” and “Most Points by a Junior” in his final season. He came to Hershey late in the 2014-15 season and played only three regular season games and 10 Calder Cup games. In those 10 games he scored two goals and four assists; impressive for a player straight off the plane from the Playoffs in Sweden. Jakub only lasted in Hershey for one full season (2015-16) before being snagged by the Capitals. In that season he made every single one of his 36 games played that season count (16 Goals, 18 Assists).

The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to Jakub Vrana. We told everyone we knew from the beginning that this kid was something special and that he as going to break out… and break out he did. His AHL totals are at 88 games, 35 goals, and 40 assists. He has played 94 games in the NHL regular season and has 33 points in the regular season, but has also played 23 Stanley Cup Games and scored a total of three goals and eight assists in the quest for this years Stanley Cup… which they WON!!!! Sorry not sorry for the #ALLCAPS…

Needless to say Jakub’s game is continuously developing and his moves are as slick as they come. Jakub reminds us A LOT of a young Ovechkin and we see his speed and sneaky shots taking him far in this league. We hope Vrana has the stamina to make it many years in the NHL and we get to see him flourish with the Capitals for seasons to come.

Read our other stories too:

Djoos

Bourque

Barber

Johansen

Boyd

Hobbs

Chris Bourque Says Goodbye to the Hershey Bears, Again

Chris Bourque announced Thursday that he will not return to the Hershey Bears for the 2018/19 season. Bourque signed a one-year contract with the Capitals franchise in 2017 and became a free agent this summer. There is no indication that the 32-year old has signed with another team, but given his penchant for playing just about anywhere, it is possible we will see his name associated with another team soon.

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Chris has always been a favorite up in Hershey. He is one of the nice guys who comes from hockey royalty. His father, Ray Bourque, leads the NHL in the highest number of career goals, assists, and points for a defenseman. He has more awards then most players in the NHL and set the bar high for his sons.ryan bourqueChris’ brother Ryan once too played with the Hershey Bears and has four medals from the International Ice Hockey Federation as well as World Hockey medals.

Chris made a name for himself in the hockey world. He was selected to represent the United States as part of the USA Hockey Team in 2018. He recorded two assists during the series. Although much of his career has been spent in the American Hockey League (AHL) he also played 51 games in the NHL, 13 with the Capitals, 20 with the Penguins, and 18 with the Bruins with eight points during those times.

Chris has been successful in the AHL. In 716 games played he scored 235 goals and 455 assists. This past season with the Bears he scored 17 goals and 36 assists showing a decline in overall points for the left winger. He has been one of the AHL’s most active scorers and someone that the crowd loves to watch play.

Previous article: Christian Djoos

Hershey Spotlight: Riley Barber

By now you know that the guy in our spotlight today has just signed a brand spanking new one-year extension with the Caps/Bears. If he plays in the NHL his contract is worth $650,000.00 as opposed to the mere $115,000 as a Bear. This really gave us some perspective on how little AHL players make in comparison to the guys in the show.

But let’s focus on the spotlight at hand. Riley was drafted in 2012 along with notable Capitals prospects Filip Forsberg (Nashville Predators), Tom Wilson (you all know where he is), Connor Carrick (Maple Leafs), and last but not least, Christian Djoos (Hershey and Capitals- he’s next up in our Hershey Spotlight).

Even though they were drafted in the same year they have traveled very different paths. The guys that have made it to the NHL permanently have stepped up in ways that we haven’t seen from Barber yet.

Barber played three years for University of Miami (Ohio) and scored an average of 18 goals per season. The numbers are a little bit deceiving though due to the length of the college hockey season. The length of a regular season is about half that of the NHL- so just think how amazing those numbers would be if they had the full 82 games to play like the NHL.

Unfortunately due to a wrist injury and accompanying surgery in the 2016 season, the numbers for Barber are a bit inconsistent in the AHL. What we do know is that Barber was number one in goals for the Bears in the 2017-18 season, which most certainly solidified his new one-year extension.

Next up Djoos!

A Sweet Road trip- A Photo Gallery

This weekend we took FiCP on the road yet again to our favorite Pennsylvania destination- Hershey! The Outdoor Classic between the Bears and Phantoms was set for Saturday the 19th on the coolest stage in Hershey; Hershey Park Stadium. We had such a blast and are thrilled to share some awesome photos from the weekend!

Prior to the game there was a fanfest which included signings by some of our favorite alumni!

 

Before the game began we caught some of the boys playing a little soccer or football on the field.

 

It was a littttlleeee bit chilly as you can tell:

 

The pomp and circumstance during the Bear’s entrance was so exciting and made you forget the temperatures even if just for a moment…

 

We must say though, the Phantom’s jerseys were a sight to see… we’ll let you judge for yourself.

But perhaps the most entertaining part of the evening were the mascots!

MeLVin the Phantom’s mascot was on and off “battling” with Coco the Bear’s mascot:

Explaining the Calder Cup

The Hershey Bears hold the record for most American Hockey League (AHL) wins of the Calder Cup (11) as well as the first and second place team to win the Cup. So what does it mean? What is the story behind the Calder Cup?

As the AHL explains it, the Calder Cup gets its name from Frank Calder, the first president of the AHL. Mr. Calder played a pivotal role in making a name for the AHL. The trophy was first awarded in 1938.

The Bears have been in the final run for the Cup more times (22) than any other team; and they have lost (11) more times than any other AHL team. Many current Capitals and notable past players have their name etched on the trophy. Some coaches including Barry Trotz (1994), Bruce Boudreau (2006) can be found on the Cup.

Among the current Caps players whose names can be found on the Cup are:

Karl Alzner (2x)DSC_0124

Jay Beagle (2x)DSC_0106

John Carlson (2x)DSC_0438

Braden Holtby4-27-16-26

There have only been three times in which the NHL and AHL affiliate have won the Stanley Cup and the Calder Cup: Montreal Canadiens (1976 and 1977) and the New Jersey Devil (1995), and Pittsburg Penguins (2015). Thankfully, that won’t happen again this year!

As all eyes in Washington shift to watch the Hershey Bears, we will be taking a closer look at prospects for the third and fourth line, and maybe even a couple defensemen who the Caps management might consider bringing up for permanent spots on the 2016/17 roster. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the top prospects for the Caps.

Getting To Hershey and Cocoa’s House

hershey alumni
Hershey Bear Alumni at Opening Night 2015

 

Parking:

The cost for parking at Giant Center is $9.00 The parking lots are right outside the arena; Very reasonable compared to what you pay at Verizon Center.

Eating:

If you choose to eat outside the arena, there are plenty of options like two of our favorites: Cocoa Diner (590 E Main St, Hummelstown), Soda Jerk Diner & Dairy Bar, and several fast food restaurants.

Inside the arena there are many delicious options as well. My personal favorite place to eat is Arooga’s Wing Shack. They have boneless and bone-in wings with many sauces to choose from. Other food selections include: Pizza, Italian cuisine, a nacho bar, and of course your arena favorite beer, hot dogs and popcorn.

Seating:

There really are no bad seats inside Giant Center. If you are coming with children or those who prefer not to be around alcohol there are several “Alcohol Free” sections located in the arena including sections 116 and 216.

Lodging:

You can definitely do the drive up and back to Hershey in one day but if you choose to stay overnight in Hershey there are a vast range of options. For those seeking a true getaway the best option would be the one and only Hotel Hershey—a 4.5 star resort style hotel complete with spa facilities, a full restaurant, and access to The Hershey Country Club and their three beautiful golf courses. For those looking for something more affordable there are too many choices including Hilton and Marriott which have several hotels right in Hershey alone.

Photos:

Feel free to ask the usher which section to go down if you’d like to take photos during warm-ups. They do allow them but some season ticket holders like to sit in their own seats for warm-ups and you don’t want to block their view.

Getting Player Autographs & Pictures

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Getting to Know Your Players

Perhaps the best part of Hershey is how accessible the players are. After games you can pretty much get a photo or autograph from any player you’d like. Just go out the main entrance and turn right, go past the season ticket holder entrance and take the set of stairs that leads down to another smaller lot. At the bottom of the stairs walk straight, past the media entrance, until you see a smaller set of stairs on your right hand side. Wait at the top of those stairs for the players as they come out. If you don’t know who a player is, feel free to ask those around you. This is the highlight of every Hershey trip for me. The guys are more than willing to stand and have conversations with fans post-game, but remember if they are with their families especially young children try not to keep them too long. It can get cold out there so bundle up!

hershey coco   Last but certainly not least, if you are looking for a great photo opportunity, the Bears mascot, Coco is always walking around the arena to take photos with fans young and those young at heart!

And remember to have fun!!!