Natalie R. Shares Her Experience From the Calder Cup Rally

On Tuesday the Hershey Bears held their Calder Cup rally to celebrate and share the excitement of winning their 11th Calder Cup with the fans. Neither of your Chronicles bloggers were able to attend, seeing as we live three hours away and it being a weekday, much to our extreme displeasure. However we bothered invited blog friend, Caps and Hershey Bears fan, Natalie R. (also known @JMU_CapsGirl on Twitter) to please, please, please, write us a guest post for the blog since she was able to go. Natalie being the wonderful person she is agreed. Here is her experiences (and pictures which Natalie would like to note were taken on her phone so are not of the highest quality) from the Hershey Bears Calder Cup rally all in her own words (unless there is an Editor’s Note.)

“Ain’t No Party Like A Hershey Bears Party”

Having witnessed in person the first two losses to Texas, there was no way I was going anywhere near the Giant Center for game six, but I wanted to be there for the celebration if they won.  So Tuesday I drove the three hours from my house to Hershey for the Calder Cup party.  Walking in, my first sight was of the scoreboard, still reading 0.0 time & 4-0.  They had tables all around the perimeter of the floor, two guys per table, numerically together, the whole purpose of which was to keep “Matois” (Editors Note: “Matios” is the name of the bromance of Mathieu Perreault and Francios Bouchard for those not in the know) from sitting with each other and just carrying on their bromance and ignoring the fans. Or at least that’s what I figured.

Ended up two rows back from the stage, which was perfect because I left my camera in the car, along with everything else essential – jersey, sharpie, etc, so I used my cell camera.

They showed a great highlight montage from each series, followed by John Walton’s “GM, GA & GN *insert team name*” call.  From the second round, each package was preceded by the appropriate “History Will Be Made” clip.  Walton came up to the podium and got the crowd really pumped with a “Good Morning, Good Afternoon & Good Night, Texas!” then started introducing the players.  Sean Collins was the only one still rocking a full beard. And a full beer (in a Pepsi cup.)

Giroux was pretty drunk, spraying double champagne bottles all over the crowd, which I suppose makes sense as this is the last time he’ll be partying with these guys.* I’m guessing its only a matter of which KHL club at this point. *Complete conjecture;  I have no idea where his 5 o’clock shadow will land next.

Pinner came out rocking some pretty epic facial stylings. Here is a much better picture than any I could get with my cell from Erika over at RoaRR.

Helmer’s kids joined him onstage. If y’all do not know how much his son, Cade, worships Carly, its adorable. Like straight-up hero-worship cute.

The jokester of the night was Andrew Joudrey, who came onstage in Holtby’s gear with tape over the nameplate with “JOUDREAU” written over top.  All the guys were up there in their shorts & t-shirts and Jouds was in full goalie gear and flip-flops.  He signed autographs like that most of the night, but he took the helmet off and kept leaving his table.  “I gotta pee again!”

L-R:  Matty P in a hat he probably stole off an elderly man; Jouds; Bouch; Beags; Cade, Bryan & Rylan Helmer; Kroll & Wilson

Although, now that I see where he was sitting, if I was being forced to sit between “Matois”, I’d probably want some sort of protection too. Or a video camera. You. Tube.

The last group of guys onstage were the goalies. Neuvy had his stunner shades on and was holding up his ring from last year; Cash had dollar bills tucked into the sides of his glasses.

L-R:  Cash, Neuvy, Holtby & camcorder, Eakin (responsibly not looking still drunk/hungover as befits his status as a minor *coughCarlycough*)

The very last guy on stage, though, was Chris Bourque, carrying the Calder Cup.

On the left of Braden Holtby “Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta” by the Geto Boys, and on the right “Riding Nerdy” by Weird Al

After they were all onstage, Doug Yingst came up to the podium and gave his speech. Mostly thank-yous to all the guys, the staff, the coaches, the families of everyone involved & the fans.  He said at one point (and I’m paraphrasing here), “I knew we were going to win yesterday, because it was June 14th.  And when you add the 6 and the 1 and the 4, you get number 11.”  A drunk guy near me said “And 11 is back-to-back #1’s! Wooooooo!” Then he just stood there stage-whispering random variations of “#1, #1, Back-to-back, #1, We’re #1, baby, Woooo!!”  He needed a mic, because that was a lot less deep and more entertaining than “Fun with Numbers and Doug Yingst”.

Bryan Helmer & Coach French thanked everyone, too. Then they dropped a bunch of balloons on the crowd, which everyone starting popping. It sounded a lot like fireworks, which was kind of cool.

Remember when I had forgotten everything in my car? Yeah, I ran out and grabbed my Miskovic jersey to get him to sign it. He had a short line, so I tried to stay cool. He was excited to sign it and took a minute to talk and decide where, how big, and what number to put when he did. “Well, sign it the number you’d want as a Capital!” When he said it was cool that I had his jersey, I mumbled something stupid about being a fan of players who had come up through the NCAA, smiled at him and fled before my mouth could say anything else stupid.  (Yes, I am really this awkward around people I think are cool.)

I waited in Pinner’s line with some friends, then hit the shorter lines for guys like Kyle Wilson (a complete sweetheart who is very polite and may have the best smile on the team) & Jay Beagle. I asked Beags if we’d see him in July at development camp and he said he was a FA (which I knew, but forgot) and he didn’t even know if the Caps were interested in re-signing him. I felt like a horrible human being. But honestly, if they don’t bring Beagle back, I will be sad.

I then started waiting in the longer lines for Matty P, Bouchard & Holtby.

Anonymous Player’s Name’s line (Editor’s Note: I thought this paragraph was too amusing to edit out so Natalie and I decided to keep the player’s name anonymous out of respect) was pretty short by that time, so I got in that one. I was standing in front of a guy & two girls who were discussing who would be a Capital so they could get those signatures. They seemed to be newer fans of the team, so I tried to help them out with who might be with DC in the next few years. (I had to tell  them to go for Alzner & Carlson!) We chatted for a few minutes until one of the girls looked at Anonymous Player’s Name, looked at the other girl, and said (paraphrasing again) “The only reason you want a picture with this guy and his autograph is because he used to be f*** buddies with your friend!” I quickly turned to the front before I died laughing. You can’t make this shit up, folks.

My friend was in line for CBo, so I just handed her my jersey. (Yep, I’m one of those people. Its called efficiency, not “cutting line”) Carlson was on the phone when I got to him, but he hung up. Kid looked a little rough. I’m guessing half of it was just being bored & tired, but I’m sure a good chunk of it was alcohol induced.

Jumped in Alzner’s line as it was fairly short. I set my jersey down so he could sign the number, but he flipped the top up to see the name plate and said “Ah, Misker!” and chuckled. Not really sure what was so funny. (I am not a dork, Karl Alzner!) I then nearly faceplanted trying to extract myself from the extra long table skirt I somehow managed to wrap my foot in. So Karl Alzner either thinks I’m a huge klutz or a major loser. Or both.

I really wanted to get Andrew Gordon’s signature, him being a good Maritime boy and the unwitting linchpin of my campaign to get my Maritimer father to be a Caps fan and not a Crosby fan, but his line was still wrapped around other lines at 9:55. So I took his picture from Alzner’s line. He is such a happy guy!

Hi!  I’m Andrew and I make Karl Alzner look like an insensitive jerk!

I gave up on Gordon and went to Neuvirth, who still seemed pretty drunk and seriously did not take his sunglasses off the entire night.  He also made the weirdest facial expressions, which is par for the course with him.

With one last longing look at Andrew Gordon’s line, I hit the Bears Den for dinner & an adult beverage with Erika from over at RoaRR & tweep Kim.

All the Bears I ❤ except Gordo!  Clockwise from top, On the 6:  Pinner, SquEaks, Willy, Patty Mac, Holts, Bouch & Matty P (who apparently try to even sign next to each other)  On the 8:  Carly (thanks for signing your Caps # kid), Karlzner, Misker (ditto on the Caps #), Beags, Neuvy & CBo.

We want to thank Natalie for putting so much time and effort into doing this great guest post for us. We really appreciate her doing this for us and allowing us to live vicariously through her. Thank you very much, Natalie!

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Filed under AHL, Bromance, Calder Cup Playoffs, Guest Blogs, Hershey Bears, Meghan's Blog, Washington Capitals

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