December 15th, 2004

Caps To Open Practice Rink In Virginia

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But will there be a team to play in it?

In a long anticipated move, the Washington Capitals announced Tuesday that they had reached an agreement with Arlington County, Virginia to build a twin rink complex atop a parking garage at the Ballston Common Mall in the county’s Wilson Boulevard corridor. The complex, which will also house the team’s administrative offices, is scheduled to open in May 2006 — that is, if the NHL still exists.

But a win for Arlington is a loss for Odenton, Maryland, home of the team’s original practice rink, Piney Orchard — a spot that’s a real hot bed of Caps diehards not far from the team’s original home at the Capitol Centre in Prince George’s County.

But when the team moved downtown to MCI Center in 1997 and adjusted the start time of home games from 7:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (no way those people get home from work and back downtown in time to make the start of the first period), it largely abandoned this suburban fan base in favor of a younger and wealthier set well inside the Beltway. The move of the practice facility is only a belated recognition of that fact.

For more from the Washington Post, click here.

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