At any given Washington Capitals game, it seems like there are apt to be as many members of the Redskins as there are of the Caps. Jason Campbell, Chris Cooley, Colt Brennan, and Lorenzo Alexander have all been spotted at Verizon Center recently, and Fred Smoot and Rock Cartwright — among others — consider themselves fans. Heck, a bunch of those guys — plus Clinton Portis — even show up in a Rock The Red video.
Tonight, though, the Redskins/Capitals connection moves up a DEFCON level: head coach Jim Zorn will be attending tonight’s Game 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. And after today’s low-intensity practice, I was able to ask him a few questions about it. As you’d expect, the conversation turned to speed-skating and broomball. But it started with the basics of his hockey fanhood.
“When we were in Detroit,” he said, “we were certainly Red Wings fans, and really enjoyed many hockey games, actually. We enjoy it, and we’re gonna go try to support the Capitals.”
Have you been out to the Verizon Center yet?Zorn: “Haven’t had the chance to see a hockey game yet, no. I haven’t had much time.”
Did you play any hockey?
Zorn: “I skated. I skate, and I love hockey skates. That’s how I learned: I worked at an ice skating rink in college. My mother was not prone to driving me around — she wasn’t a hockey mom, you know? So I didn’t get to play hockey. But I really enjoy skating, so I really enjoy that game.
“I played broomball, though.”
Zorn: “Yeah. But we did it with skates. We played broomball with hockey skates.”
(At this point, I began to suspect that the broomball that I was picturing — a bunch of kids on the floor of a high-school gym running around with brooms — was not precisely accurate. A subsequent Google search has verified this suspicion.)
(In hindsight, this is a fascinatingly silly question. I appreciate Coach Zorn delivering his answer in a kind, non-patronizing fashion.)
Zorn: “Yeah, on ice. Broomball, a lot of times you’ll see youth groups or organizations play broomball with their groups, and it’s with shoes, and you have brooms, and you brush around a volleyball with the brooms. And we would do it with skates.”
Wait, when was this?
Zorn: “When I worked at the ice rink. And when I worked there, I gave up my hockey skates for speed skates.”
Zorn: “I speed-skated. I competitively speed-skated, short-track indoor speed skating.”
(Here’s more Zorn on his speed-skating, from an archived interview with Sportsline.com: “I started skating recreationally my senior year of high school and then I got a job at an ice skating rink. I never got to the senior A men, who were the guys that were world-class skaters but I was amongst the group that was the senior B men.”)
Ah, right. I remember reading about that. Back to the game tonight: have you had a chance to see much of the Caps, or of Alex Ovechkin?
Zorn: “Not a lot. This is more of a novelty for me — with the football, I haven’t had the chance to be all grinding and ‘Go Caps!’ I’m not painting my face tonight.”
Will you be wearing red, though?
Zorn: “Oh, yeah, I’ll wear red.”
I hope I’m not overstepping my bounds here, but I have a strong suspicion that Dan Steinberg will provide at least some coverage of Zorn’s NHL experience over at the DC Sports Bog.
Tags: Coach Zorn, CoachZorn, Washington Capitals, WashingtonCapitals
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