Though my comments were sporadic in our discussion over in the Game Day Thread, I rather enjoyed hearing your opinions of the game experience at the Verizon Center. Since there were varying opinions regarding what is good/bad/ugly, I decided that I would reach out to the Capitals to let them know about the discussion. I quickly received a response from someone within the organization with a rather detailed response to the discussion. The response wasn't just some canned BS, so I asked permission to repost it here. Because the issue is not with them personally, they requested that I leave their name out. I am fine with that, so their name has been replaced with CapsRep. If this discussion brings forward any other points, I will be sure to forward them along and provide any response they may give (permission pending).
My initial email just forwarded them a link to the discussion, with a short bit on why I was sending them the link. Their response is as follows:
Thanks. There is a great misconception that we are "not in touch" or "marketing (name calls)." We work hard to appeal to a broad cross-section of people. Both the long-time fans, who want the hard-core hockey experience, and those that are new to the appeal of going to see a live game.
Believe me, I'm a fan as well. I grew up with all the traditional hockey elements that were posted about. That is why you see more replays now, with a picture in picture feature. We are constantly working on providing more statistics to the fans in the arena.
We are not afraid to run replays that are controversial, but I think it's easier to site one or two then remember when we helped get the crowd to turn the tide. What I think is missing is that with some replays, they occur off-camera. The camera can only get so many angles. There are just multiple times when the play has occurred out of the frame. Everyone in the arena has seen it (as we have too), but if the camera didn't get the shot, there is little we can do. We don't have the amount of cameras like an NFL game.
Sound level is another constant work in-progress. We are aware of the limitations of the current sound system. In fact, we are working on installing a new one. That would enable us to further tweak the levels per section. Right now, it's the same level that 100 and 400 receive (as well as the Press Box). So in some sections, you have muddled sound and in others it is louder.
We don't play over all the whistles. We want the fans to breathe and have a chance to get their own cheers going. And we feed off of that. If the fans start a Let's Go Caps, we will try and get behind it with organ. All that is in the spirit of fun.
As for music, we always try to be current, but we stay true to hockey's rock traditional roots. Van Halen, AC/DC to Pantera and more modern metal acts are all peppered throughout the evening. The organ is there to keep the old-time hockey feel and that balance is important to us.
As for the TV Timeouts, we have do have sponsor commitments, but we always make sure that they are hockey related, fun and interesting. If you enjoy it, great, if you don't it doesn't last long and in the overall scope of the night, its a small fraction of time.
We are in the business of hockey entertainment. The "experience" is what you make of it. If you are coming to the game and just want to have a good time, laugh, cheer, join in on some of the entertainment elements and tributes, then that's what makes it rewarding. This isn't an email to change the minds of those that have decided that they won't enjoy it no matter what. All we can do is try to enhance your individual and/or family's experience for the better.
We realize that you spend your hard earned entertainment dollar. We just want you to enjoy yourself from the warmups to the opening video throughout the game and end it with a solid "Fury" or an end-game/post-game celebration for a Caps win.
And finally, going to the arena to be with your fellow fans to yell, cheer, and even the occasional heckle of the opposing team is what makes it special. We try each and every game to allow the fans to build up their own steam.
Hopefully that addresses some of the concerns. I know that we will never satisfy everyone and in the age of message boards, its nearly impossible. We appreciate our fans more than they believe at times. A quick glance around the league puts us at the top of home town advantages because of that fact. Our department and everyone at the Caps just want to help push that in any way we can. So with that, "Unleash the Fury!"
Thanks again for the email.
Now two things stick out here:
First, I absolutely applaud the fact that this person cares so much that they wrote a genuine response to my query. I don't think we could expect to see this from many teams in the league.
Second, I don't want to speak for this person, but I believe that we could "do some good" here. I'm not saying we can wave a magic wand and change everything at the Verizon Center, but if we put the proper amount of effort into it, we can surely change the environment around us. By talking to the right people and gaining support with other fans and the organization, I really think we can make Caps games a better place. Don't like "It's all your fault!"? Why can't we change that chant?
I'll get off my pedestal and let you guys insert your 2 cents.
Slight edits made to their response for formatting, their response (in its entirety) was left untouched.
Note: The quote was taken down for about an hour and fifteen minutes while the representative was unsure whether it should be public. I regained permission to post it. As of 8:10PM EST, it is back up.