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Abe Pollin dies at age 85

Abe Pollin, the only majority owner in the history of the Washington Wizards and the former owner of the Washington Capitals, died Tuesday at age 85.

Pollin was owner of the Capitals when they reached the Stanley Cup finals in 1998, before he sold the team in 1999 to AOL executive Ted Leonsis.

Longtime Post sports editor George Solomon will be online at 5 p.m. to discuss Pollin's life and legacy.

More to come...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  November 24, 2009; 3:52 PM ET
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Next: Bettman's statement on Pollin


Wow sad day for all DC sports fans, deepest condolences to all of Mr. Pollin's family and friends. Abe was a visionary and a great owner... We will miss you Abe

Posted by: sloozebury | November 24, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I know there will some people who will gripe about this, that and the other, but without Mr. Pollin there would be no Washington Capital.

Zeicher tzaddik livracha

Posted by: EricS2 | November 24, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Make that "Capitals". oy -_-

Posted by: EricS2 | November 24, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow indeed

Posted by: austinsteve | November 24, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

from previous thread

4 - car, nas
3 - bos, edm, phx, pit
2 - ana, fla, mon, stl, van
1 - buf, chi, col, dal, la, nyi, sj
0 - atl, cal, cbj, det, min, nj, nyr, ott, phi, tb, tor, was

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | November 24, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for doing the research, d├╝uude! Saved my @$$ again!

I predict this separation will increase as the season rolls on, and WAS will be among the last to leave the "zero" group...which would be a good thing, yes?

Posted by: Rhino40 | November 24, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: richmondphil | November 24, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

A sad day for me to learn that Abe Pollin has passed away. I never met him personally, but I will remember a man that gave so much to the Washington metropolitan area and received so little in return. It is because of Abe that we have professional men and women basketball, as well as hockey. He built his teams and arenas with his own money - no need to rip-off or hold the citizens of the city hostages in order to get tax money to pay for them; what a concept.

Rest in peace Mr. Pollin. I will forever remember and thank you.

Posted by: hock1 | November 24, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

it's not likely - but i'd say the caps have the best chance at going all 82 without a goose egg. tor was the shocker in that list

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | November 24, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

My mom also had PSP and passed away in April. My condolences to Mrs. Pollin and the Pollin family.

Posted by: luvdcaps | November 24, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

RIP, but maybe now we can fix the ice at Verizon Center.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 24, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

My condolences to the Pollin family. Mr. Pollin brought the Caps to DC, and made a passionate hockey fan and player out of me. He also contributed greatly to the city. His shoes will never be filled.

Posted by: sjshanno | November 24, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I hope the Caps honor Mr. Polin with his initials on their jerseys.

Posted by: joek443 | November 24, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Rest in peace, Mr. Abe Pollin. To his family, I offer my heartfelt condolences.

If it weren't for Abe, we wouldn't have the Washington Capitals and the Washington Wizards (nee the Capitol Bullets). We also might not have Abe's Table to feed the hungry or development to spur urban renewal in China Town.

Abe Pollin, you were a true mensch...and you will be missed.

Posted by: Terptwin | November 24, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

as a caps and wizards fan since day one, this is a sad day. i dont think it's a stretch to say that abe and his wife did more for this city in the past 30 years than any other single person(s). too bad the wiz couldnt bring another championship home in his lifetime.

and you stay classy oldtimehockey...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 24, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I had my reservations about his abilities as a Sports team owner, but I only have good things to say about the man as both a human being and what he's done for D.C.

Posted by: Longgoneposter | November 24, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

@ Capt_Kirk:

TOR not such a surprise; they're not really as bad as their record, just snake-bit: did you hear about them putting 62 shots on net in a game where they scored first, only to lose in OT?...TOR had battled back from early deficit, and even taken the lead before NYI tied it late to force the OT! If that ain't snake-bit, I don't know what is!

Posted by: Rhino40 | November 24, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Does this mean Ted can take over the verizon center?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 24, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

washington d.c. will miss you abe.HE was revolutionary to d.c. and to the evolution of sports in the washington area.Great man,great owner.He will be missed.In the words of abe and all of d.c. GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | November 24, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I think he can be best remembered for his community work and the Bullets/Wizards. As a hockey fan, I was dissappointed in his stewardship for the most part. He was a tight wad by NHL ownership standards. One of my most difficult moments as a Caps fan was when he chose to let Scott Stevens walk via a Blues offer shheet. I believe that decision cost this team at least one championship. But I'm mostly thankful for him bringing hockey to DC and making it work through some very lean times.


Posted by: Riddler1 | November 24, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Without Abe Pollin there would be no Washington Capitals. RIP Abe!

Posted by: croftonpost | November 24, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse


I am classy. The guy is dead, that is sad. But, everything I've ever read is that Pollin was and his ownership of the building was a big reason why the ice never improves at VC. And, I maintain that its crappy ice that caused many of the lower body injuries (groins/hips) that we have on the Caps. So, now that he is no longer around, maybe the ice can get better. This is the Caps blog, not the obit page.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 24, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

@ oldtimehockey

you have got to be kidding... and you say you're classy???

the ice at MSG has been crappy for decades and you hear any guys blaming the ice for any injuries???

Posted by: joek443 | November 24, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow, hockey professionals who start from kids renting skates to playing through all kinds of conditions in the minors and sometimes college or international venues are suddenly getting snakebit by injuries caused by Abe Pollin's ice?

Get a life loser.

Posted by: LouLewis | November 24, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

My condolences to the Pollin family. I appreciate the fact that Abe brought hockey and basketball to the DC area.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 24, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

@LouLewis: you must be new to hockey. I'll explain it to you some time. Have you been to this blog before?

@joek433, Ok, maybe the ice causes the injuries, maybe it doesn't. But, the ice sucks. And, I blame the building, which was Pollin's domain.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 24, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Rest in peace, Mr. Pollin. You did a lot for DC. Condolences to the Pollin family.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | November 24, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The ice is bad at most NHL arenas. It's somewhat of a myth that it's any worse at VC. Almost all arenas who are used in the same manner as VC (basketball over the ice) have bad ice.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 24, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

oldtimehockey - saying you're classy, not very classy know what is classy, wearing a tuxedo to work.

Posted by: superpaqman | November 24, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@ oldtimehockey

I got bad news for you... the ice will always be crappy at VC so get used to it

there's time and place for blaming a persson for something real or imagined and the day he passes away is NOT the right time for it.

The classy thing would have been for you to remain quiet on the subject.

Posted by: joek443 | November 24, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Come on let's keep it friendly. We can pay our respect to Pollin who has done great things for DC. And we can hope to improve the ice.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 24, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

RIP Abe. Contributions to the Washington DC hockey and basketball are well recognized. Also, building and financing the Verizon Center was a big accomplishment. Though he could have managed his teams better to be successful, he's done a better job than the guy who's team plays at FedEx.

I believe that Ted gets first dibs on purchasing WSE including the Verizon Center. I'm sure he is sad for Abe's passing but looking forwards to owning the whole piece of the pie and trying to make some money instead of losing money.

Putting AP on the jerseys would be appropriate! Could happen as soon as tomorows game.

Posted by: puckman | November 24, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Pollin did wonderful things for this area as a sports owner and philanthropist. My condolences to his family and friends.

Posted by: wocoliz | November 24, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Like Mr. Pollin Mr. Leonsis is also a basketball guy first from what I've heard and now with the passing of Mr. Pollin, Ted will become the majority owner of the wizards.

instead of thinking about the prospect of better ice quality at VC, the caps fans should think about how much more Ted will be involved with the Wizards day to day now.

Posted by: joek443 | November 24, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

David Poile was just on 980 and shared his thoughts on the passing of Mr. Pollin...

he talked about the trade he made 10 days after he became the GM of the Caps at the age of 33...

Ryan Walter was the favorite player of Mr. Pollin's and when Poile told Mr. Pollin that he had just traded Walter and Rick Green for Rod Langway and the others, Mr. Pollin told Poile, "well I hope you know what you're doing"

Posted by: joek443 | November 24, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff, joek443. Anything else to share from it?

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 24, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

BTW that trade was made right in the middle of the save the Caps campaign in september of 1982... so it's not an exaggeration to say that the trade literally saved this franchise.

Posted by: joek443 | November 24, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Pollin wanted to give Poile an one-year deal because he wasn't sure the team would be around for more than a year but Poile wanted a 3-year deal which was customary.. and he eventually got 3 years and of course he was the Caps GM for 15 years.

Abe told Poile, "well if the team is not around after a year, the 3-year deal won't be any good anyway..."

Posted by: joek443 | November 24, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

My condolenses to the Pollin family. I'm an out-of-towner, but it certainly appears if his philanthropy is second to none.

As for how this relates to hockey matters, and with regards to his legacy as an owner, I shall allow 24 hours to pass.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 24, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

So long Abe, thank you for the capitals.

Bad Ice: I can't remember anyone pulling a groin on a pond and I am betting the VC ice is better then most ponds. We lost alot of pucks in the snow(boards) but no pulled groins.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 24, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

My husband who moved to the DC area in the late 70s remembers how run down the area around Verizon was. And how many thought it was a huge risk to move a sports franchise downtown. Kudos to Pollin for his vision.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 24, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Cheers to the father of the Capitals. While I did not always agree with how he ran the franchise, ultimately he is responsible for hockey in Washington. For that, I am eternally grateful to Abe. At last he is reunited with his two children. RIP Abe.

Posted by: paperboy76 | November 24, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Mr. Pollin re-thought his early decisions to possibly move the franchise at one point and stayed the course long enough to find the next great owner in DC sports history.

I revere and respect him for building the Verizon Center with his own money and not on the backs of taxpayers. He set great examples on several fronts.

Condolences to the Pollin family.

Posted by: cwiseman | November 24, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Condolences to the Pollin family

Posted by: NovaCath | November 24, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

@oldtimehockey: Your comments are inappropriate and not classy. Classy people don't say they're classy, they let others do it. In one of the subsequent blog threads I'm going to discuss a WETA special that included interviews with Abe Pollin. Watch it should you want to learn something about being classy, humble, and down to earth.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | November 25, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

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