What happened a year ago still doesn't feel real.
June 7, 2018: 40 years to the day after the Washington Bullets won their only NBA Championship in 1978. Could D.C. sports history repeat itself?
It was a normal start to the day. Breakfast and an early morning call from my kids. My son was born in Las Vegas. I lived there for nearly two years, so in a way, this city and location was extremely sentimental and important to me.
It was 100 degrees by noon, and Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Washington Capitals and Las Vegas Knights was still five-plus hours away. I wanted to make the walk over to the arena early to try and find Caps fans along the way that were getting the party started. There were plenty. On the way from the hotel to T-Mobile, I probably ran into 20-30 Caps fans, and that number turned into several thousand inside the arena.
Maybe they knew something right then and there?
The final six-plus minutes felt like an eternity. The Stanley Cup was in the house and being prepared. Washington, D.C. was going nuts with thousands and thousands of fans flooding the streets around Capital One Arena and inside the Caps' home building.
The countdown was on. With just over one second left, the whistle blew and another face-off was all that stood in between the Caps and a championship.
From there, it was a sea of hundreds and hugs all around. I caught up with an emotional T.J. Oshie and then Connolly, who had the shot that set up the game-winning goal.
Next, it was an on-ice scrum with now Islanders head coach Barry Trotz, who finally had won his first Stanley Cup.
Then it was Trotz, and honestly, I don’t remember who else they brought into that room. It was all a blur. For the first time, the media was not allowed into the locker room so that was the one experience that nobody but players and staff got to experience.
As it should be.
The champs kicked off one epic summer and had a hellacious appetite for alcohol and celebrating with Lord Stanley.
A trophy they worked their whole lives for. A trophy they will get to see their names on for the next 50 or so years.
From the locker room celebration to parading through MGM later that night, to sleeping with the Cup and taking public baths with it back home in Washington. It was all magical.
A new champion will be crowned shortly, but nobody can take the memories and the moments that united a city and a region together, like the Caps and the Stanley Cup did one year ago today.
No matter what I do in my career, there won’t be another moment and time that means more to me than that night.
A night we’ll all remember and cherish for the rest of time.