- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2018

D.C. Council member Jack Evans told The Washington Times that an outdoor viewing party for the Washington Capitals‘ upcoming playoff games would “less likely” be ready for Tuesday’s Game 3 and “more likely” ready for Thursday’s Game 4.

Mr. Evans first mentioned the idea to reporters last Thursday and said the chances of a plan coming to fruition by Tuesday were “50-50.” The city faces hurdles that include keeping Metro open later at night, possibly closing off a city block near Capital One Arena and receiving the approval of the NHL.

Metro announced Monday that it would extend service by one hour Tuesday night, with final trains coming around 12:30 a.m. rather than the usual 11:30 p.m. weeknight closing time.

Exelon and Pepco paid the $100,000 necessary for Metro to operate the extra hour Tuesday. Mr. Evans, a Ward 2 Democrat and the Metro Board chairman, said there likely would be a similar agreement in place for Thursday evening with different companies that have not yet been announced.

The likeliest plan for a watch party would be to close G Street between 7th and 8th streets NW and set up a big screen outside Capital One Arena. Fans would gather around the Smithsonian American Art Museum across the street from the arena and “on the museum steps,” as Mr. Evans put it at last week’s Metro Board meeting.

The Metropolitan Police Department has not yet responded to requests for comment.

The Capitals are working with the NHL to finalize other necessary details. A league spokesman said that the league requires a written request for approval for postseason viewing parties in advance of a given round, “which should detail all proposed plans for that round, including which game(s) and location(s), and estimated attendance numbers.”

The Capitals are playing the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They lead the series 2-0 after the first two games were played in Tampa over the weekend.

To Mr. Evans, it is an opportunity to bring the city together to support the first major four sports team from Washington to make it this far in the playoffs in 20 years.

“Yes, it’s the fans in the arena, but it’s also the thousands of people outside, the people working in the restaurants and the bars. People cleaning up afterward,” Mr. Evans said. “That’s why we need to keep Metro open late, so all those people can get home too.”

Mr. Evans said he will attend any viewing parties the city is able to organize. Like many local fans, he believes it could be the Capitals‘ year.

“Just the celebratory time of being at Capital One Arena, outside, watching it on the big screen,” he said. “I’ve seen it in other cities and it’s really dynamic. It really brings a region together. That’s what it’s all about.”

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