Capitals ConventionPosted on September 27, 2009
Thanks to all of you who visited and spent so much time at the Capitals Convention on Saturday. I know I met at least 2,000 people personally; got my picture taken with thousands of you; and signed autograph after autograph. I did my best to mingle and meet you all. I was exhausted at the end of the day but had a great time. I am very appreciative of the people that want to meet me and humbled when you ask for my autograph. I only stopped mingling when I had to go to the men's room and I even signed some autographs in the bathroom, too! I would like to thank Gary Bettman and Bill Daly for coming down to our convention on a Saturday from NYC. They made great presentations; mingled with our fans and media; and worked hard on our behalf. I thought Mr. Bettman did a great job in our keynote speech at 10:00 am and was very candid and honest on a number of tough subjects. I thought the breakout sessions upstairs were terrific. They were Standing Room Only sessions and really worked. Some folks complained about the audio quality to me in email but, to be frank, I attended five sessions during the day; sat in the back; and had no issues at all in hearing the speakers or in finding a seat. I was pleasantly surprised about the quantity of the questions to the speakers. Our fans are very educated about the NHL and hockey and are very opinionated. All of the speakers remarked to me about the quality of the sessions and the turnout. The downstairs convention hall was buzzing and a bit too loud. I thought the autograph lines worked out OK. The lines were long but efficient. The main stage sessions were well attended and well produced but the sound quality needed to be improved. We also needed more chairs and more room. We will improve next year. We were very kid friendly and the hockey areas were just maxed out all day with young adults playing hockey; shooting pucks; and all having such a great time. I thought the hockey displays, auctions and merchandise areas worked well too. We have very popular merchandise and next time will have to bring more stuff and make the store bigger with more checkout lines. I think we can also add some extra private time for season tickets holders next year vs. the general public. The lines early in the day were a bit overwhelming but things balanced out as the day progressed. I thought the venue was very nice. The people were very supportive of us at Gaylord National Convention Center. Some folks have complained to me about parking costs and we will have to figure out how to balance this issue in future years. I would like to note that I just read that Dallas Stadium parking is now priced at $75 so $11 doesn't seem that high of a price to pay for parking at such an exclusive resort and, so you know, we don't share in any of that revenue. I would like to thank our players for being so accessible to our fans. The keynote session with Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom was a sellout and they had fun. All of our players were wowed by the turnout and the display of passion by our fan base. As our fan base continues to grow we are challenged to keep up high levels of interactivity and that high tech, high touch feel that I want to convey to our fans.We will do our best to innovate, to improve and to listen to our fans. I am very pleased with the work our staff did in this first year of our convention. It will only get bigger and better as the years go on. I participated as a fan in the event. I was happy and thought it showed that we had arrived as "a hockey town". For that I thank you all. Go Caps!