A sweet night is in store Friday for Capitals and Bears fans

Dylan McIlrath, Hershey Bears
Dylan McIlrath, Hershey Bears /

Friday night will be a sweet night at Capital One Arena. The Washington Capitals are still looking for inspiration and they’re looking no further than their AHL affiliate the Hershey Bears.

Before the game, the Caps will pay tribute to the reigning Calder Cup champions and there will be a ton of festivities for the fans. On the ice, Bears captain Dylan McIlrath, along with Aaron Ness and Mike Vecchione will participate in a ceremonial puck drop.

But that’s not all. Fans are invited to a pregame block party at District E beginning at 5 p.m. It’ll feature a photo op with the Calder Cup from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The 5:30-5:45 time frame will be exclusively for season ticket members.

There will be food and drink specials as well as appearances by Capitals alumni, giveaways and live music which includes pop covers by Honeydu.

If you can’t make it to the block party you can still view the Calder Cup on the 100 level concourse during the first period.

The Bears had an incredible run to their AHL record 12th Calder Cup over the spring and early summer. They defeated the Coachella Valley Firebirds in a thrilling seven game series. Game 7 was a 3-2 overtime win with Vecchione scoring the game winning goal.

While this was their 12th Cup overall, the Bears have won four ever since their partnership affiliation with the Capitals which began in 2005. Those other championships came in 2006, 2009, and 2010.

The Bears and Capitals were also affiliated together for seven seasons from 1977 to 1984 which included Hershey’s 1980 Calder Cup championship.

I know Bears fans were especially proud of Hunter Shepard last night, who made his NHL debut and secured his first NHL win. Shepard was the MVP of the Calder Cup playoffs and he well deserved it.

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The game tomorrow night starts at 7 p.m. as the Capitals take on the Minnesota Wild.