From England, With Love
How far would you travel to watch your favorite team?
Fifty miles? Three hundred? A thousand?
How about across the Atlantic?
That's how far Johnny Drummond of Billingham, England, travels once a year to see his beloved Capitals. Including last week's visit, during which he attended home games against the Senators and Rangers, he's come to Washington five times.
I first met Drummond at Piney Orchard Ice Arena a few years ago. He came over and introduced himself and we chatted for a few minutes.
Then he dropped the bombshell.
"I'm from England," he said.
"You grew up there, right?," I said.
"No, I live there," he said.
We've been e-mail buddies ever since.
I'm not the only one impressed with his level of dedication. He's on a first name basis with Ted and Olie and also has general manager George McPhee's cell phone number.
Last Monday, Johnny, his wife Elaine, nine-year-old daughter Daryl and nephew Anthony, watched the Caps rally to beat the Senators from Leonsis's suite.
A couple of days later, they were treated to a private suite for the Wizards. And on Saturday, they watched the Caps knock off the Rangers from the upper deck, near center ice.
"Back home in the Northeast of England, everything is all soccer," Drummond said. "I caught the NHL on T.V. in like 1985, and that was it. I couldn't watch anything but the NHL."
Oddly enough, Johnny fell in love with the Capitals on April 24, 1996, the day Pittsburgh's Petr Nedved scored in quadruple overtime to lift the Penguins to a 3-2 victory in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarters.
Johnny was watching the game live in England.
"It finished at like 6 a.m.", he recalled. "And I had to go to work the next morning. I was a crane driver. I fell asleep in the cab."
He was hooked.
Drummond's favorite current player is - surprise, surprise - Alex Ovechkin. His favorite all time player is Peter Bondra.
"I think it was February 18, 2004," Drummond said, shaking his head as he remembered the precise day Bondra was traded to the Senators. "It was sad. But I wouldn't swap the team we have now for any Caps team in any generation."
Although Washington's games are not broadcast on television in his hometown, Drummond diligently watches each one. A friend in Sterling, Va., burns every game onto a DVD and then ships it to him.
"We get the Versus feed twice a week," Drummond said. "Games start at midnight. I found the Capitals-Canucks game on the internet live. That started at 3 a.m., so me and Daryl went to bed around 10, woke up at 3 a.m. and watched it."
He just emailed me this afternoon to say he and his family arrived home safely. His luggage, however, is another story. It's lost.
"The airline have assured me that it will be on its way tomorrow," he wrote. "It had better be, I have a Kolzig signed puck packed!"
He sums up his latest American adventure like this:
"It was worth it ... a 6000 mile round trip. I got to see 2 fantastic Caps wins, booed Jagr and got to eat hot dogs in an executive suite!!"
See you next year, Johnny.
Posted by: Eric | November 13, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TLGDC | November 13, 2006 6:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Graham | November 14, 2006 4:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Sparky | November 14, 2006 4:56 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Joe | November 14, 2006 7:13 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Tarik | November 14, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: IJ | November 14, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rain man | November 14, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Goat | November 14, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Kiltman | November 14, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: NARCF Narc | November 14, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BennyD | November 14, 2006 11:19 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: peter hinde | November 15, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anthony Drummond | November 15, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.