The Washington Capitals are 35 years old. Don’t you think it’s about time they get interested in women? Fortunately for all you D.C.-area hockey-lovin’ ladies, they finally are.
The Caps have established Club Scarlet, a fan club focusing primarily on the female supporters of their NHL franchise. Claiming a membership of over 2,000 fans, the club has helped organize meet-and-greets with the players, practices open to the public, and other activities, as the Caps attempt to “delicately tap into their feminine fan base.”
Jennifer Harper of the WASHINGTON TIMES takes a closer look at how one hockey team is courting fans from the fairer sex. Here she describes one recent get-together between Caps players and their Scarlet supporters:
250 mostly 20-somethings … recently crammed into an upscale Arlington bar where a half-dozen Caps players - on display and in full plumage - did battle with a sold-out event for female fans. They did it with gracious good humor.
There was no familiar lineament smells or man talk or guffaws for them. No touch of locker-room home. There were, however, red balloons, cosmopolitan cocktails, many camera phones and glitter on the tables. Plus the unmistakable scent of floral colognes and the charming din of some very happy girlie-girls.
Such girlie-girls as fan Sarah Bizer:
“Oh, I’m a hard-core fan all right. Hard core. Been to the last nine games and I sure ‘rock the red.’ But I see the community here with other women and it’s uplifting. It’s fun; it’s sweet …
“This is cool. But hello. All these guys are just so, so, so gorgeous.”
And it was also sweet for a couple of Canadian girls who came a long way just to watch the Caps work out:
“We are here for sports reasons. And we’re here for personal reasons. You can’t hide it. This team is gorgeous, but they are real nice guys too,” said Marie-Pier Theoret, who drove all the way from Montreal with her friend Marie-Eve Couturier to attend a Caps session at the team’s practice rink in Arlington.
So, the Caps’ foray into capturing female fanhood seems to be working, with gaggles of gals showing up to bars and practices and such. So, how can its success be explained?
Indeed, female fans may think the players are gorgeous, skilled, courageous and sexy. But there also seems to be a certain amount of old-fashioned chivalry involved.
“There’s a wholesome dimension in this experience, and that’s refreshing. You don’t hear much about NHL guys in trouble,” said Liz Spoone, a woman of a certain age who has followed the Caps for more than a decade.