Stadium Series was a blast despite long lines

Erik Gustafsson, Dylan Strome, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Erik Gustafsson, Dylan Strome, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

This weekend the Washington Capitals were part of the center of the NHL universe as part of their showcase the Stadium Series against the Carolina Hurricanes. Despite losing 4-1 fun was had at what was a memorable first away Caps game for me. After experiencing that my goal now is to go to 1-2 road games each season.

I got down there Friday with my friend Captain Obvious and some of his crew. We rented an RV for the weekend. Friday night I made a pit stop at Elon to see a friend that goes to school there. On Saturday afternoon we rode back to Raleigh for the game.

We didn’t get to the parking lot until around six. Traffic getting there was a nightmare. Having gone to Commanders games at FedEx Field, I know what it’s like seeing bad stadium traffic. But this was a tad bit worse. What should’ve taken five minutes took a half hour. But we had it lucky compared to other fans.

After parking and having a couple of beverages and Bojangles, me and the group walked to the stadium. It was a long line getting in. Even worse I had to go to the bathroom and wait in another long line but it wasn’t as bad as the line to get into the stadium.

North Carolina State were great hosts don’t get me wrong, I just think they underestimated the crowd volume for the game. After going to the bathroom I had to wait in another line to get a couple more beverages but when all was said and done I made it to my seats just after player warmups with about under 20 minutes to go until game time.

There were Hurricanes next to me who once attended NC State and they were nice the entire time. Even when they scored a bunch of goals on the Caps I was just happy I was there for the experience that is outdoor hockey.

Of course it was better managed at the previous outdoor game I attended eight years ago at Nationals Park but that crowd was about 15,000 smaller and played in a baseball stadium. This was in a college football stadium.

My seat was right behind the student section they had adjacent to the ice in one of the end zones. We all left after Tom Wilson scored because the game was over anyway and had to beat the traffic which I heard was still bad after the game. But other than that, the experience was fun.

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It will be a while before the Caps play outside again. Now I’m trying to figure out which city I want to go to next season.