Nicklas Backstrom is loving dad life in Arlington.
Last month Backstrom signed a new five-year, $46 million contract to remain with the Washington Capitals. In addition to being the second all-time scorer for the Caps and one of hockey’s top players, the 32-year-old Swede and father of two is an Arlington resident.
A video from the Caps’ “Beyond Hockey” series was recently posted on YouTube and shows Backstrom at home in his red brick, north Arlington house. He spoke highly of the neighborhood.
“We have lived here for 10 years, actually — or I have lived here for 10 years, and Liza has lived here for 7 or 8,” he said, referring to his fiancée.
“We love it around here, on typical days we usually just — kids go to school until 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and then keep them activated and run around,” he said. “That’s when they get the best sleep too.”
Backstrom purchased the home, near the Fairfax County border, for $2 million in 2010.
In the video, he also reveals that Liza is pregnant with the family’s third child. For her part, Liza says the family “has a lot of good neighbors.”
Backstrom is not the only Arlingtonian on the team to talk up the county on video. In October, Caps winger and Bash Boxing co-owner Tom Wilson, who signed his own $31 million contract extension in 2018, appeared in the Beyond Hockey series and spent much of the video driving around Arlington.
“The offseason always flies by, but when you drive in and Arlington’s buzzing you realize how much you’ve missed it here,” Wilson said. “It’s a great feeling to have a place like that that you’re fortunate enough to come back to every year. There’s lots of stuff to do.”
The Caps may play at Capital One arena in D.C., but the team’s offices and its practices are held at MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Ballston.
New Grocery Store for Crystal City — “D.C.-based Dweck Properties is pitching a nearly 16,000-square-foot ‘urban format grocery store’ for the base of its Crystal Plaza apartments, according to plans filed with Arlington County this summer. Dweck is hoping to add roughly 38,000 square feet of retail to a plaza in front of the apartments, located at 2111 Richmond Highway.” [Washington Business Journal]
New Record High at DCA — “Washington is experiencing a beastly hot October day, unlike anything it has previously observed. The city exceeded its hottest October temperature ever previously observed, hitting 98 degrees, surpassing the mark of 96 degrees set on Oct. 5, 1941.” [Washington Post]
WaPo Interviews Dog About Hot Day — “Skippy, a golden retriever from Arlington, said: ‘I haven’t relieved myself outside in months. A dog of my standing cannot relieve himself in these offensively hot conditions.’ Skippy’s owner, Bill, rolled his eyes and confirmed this before heading back downstairs to scrub the carpet.” [Washington Post]
Joint Arlington-Alexandria Meeting — “In a rare joint meeting of top Alexandria and Arlington officials, the two communities laid the foundation for a closer collaboration on affordable housing… Despite the lofty goals for collaboration, little was decided in what amounted to a lengthy icebreaker between the two governing bodies.” [ALXnow]
Opening at Crystal City Art Gallery — “The Gallery Underground’s focus gallery theme this month is Chaos in which the artists strive to capture the feeling of instability and chaos. In addition to the focus gallery, we’re celebrating the opening of the newest Fotowalk Gallery.” [Crystal City]
Septuagenarian Still Playing Hockey in Ballston –“Paul Mason, 76-years-old, knows that age is just a number. WUSA9 caught up with him at the Medstar Capitals Iceplex, playing in a pick-up game with others who were many decades his junior.” [WUSA 9]
Press Conference in Rosslyn Area Driveway — Attorney and oft-discredited conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman is planning to hold a press conference in the driveway of his home near Rosslyn this afternoon to present new, thus-far uncorroborated allegations against Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. [Twitter]
Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick
The Rosslyn Business Improvement District and Arlington County are teaming up to host an outdoor watch party for the Caps’ first game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, fans can gather at Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway) for the 8 p.m. game. The event will also feature appearances from the “Red Rockers” dance team and the team’s mascot, Slapshot.
The game will be aired on a 40-foot projection screen.
The event is weather permitting. Follow the Capitals Twitter account for weather updates.
Norovirus Outbreak at School — More than 80 students at Oakridge Elementary in south Arlington are out sick as a result of a suspected norovirus outbreak. The virus causes symptoms like “stomach aches, fever, vomiting and, in some cases, diarrhea.” [NBC Washington]
Sign Controversy at Yorktown — Some conservatives are upset that teachers at Yorktown High School are being allowed to hang “politically suggestive” signs in their classrooms. The signs read: “Patriots Know: Facts are not political. Diversity strengthens us. Science is real. Women’s rights are human rights. Justice is for all. We’re all immigrants. Kindness is everything.” [Daily Caller]
Yorktown Lacrosse Star Nears 200 Goals — Yorktown senior lacrosse star Laura Crawford is nearing the 200-goal mark for high school career. Crawford, a three-time team MVP, has committed to Penn. [Washington Post]
Female UAE Hockey Player Visits Caps — Fatima Al Ali, a hockey player and coach from United Arab Emirates, has been visiting with the Washington Capitals this week as part of the NHL’s “Hockey Is For Everyone month.” The visit has included taking the ice at the Caps practice facility in Ballston and dropping the puck at last night’s game at Verizon Center. [Fox 5, Al-Arabiya]
Levine, Favola Advance Rape Kit Bill — Updated at 9:40 a.m. — Legislation sponsored by Del. Mark Levine and state Sen. Barbara Favola, which Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol helped to craft, has passed unanimously in the Virginia House of Delegates. The bill calls for police to keep rape kits for a longer period of time even if the victim is not ready to prosecute. [WVTF]
MMA Studio Gives Parents a Night Off — A mixed martial arts gym is not a place that one would usually think of as a babysitting venue, but that’s precisely what Pentagon MMA on Columbia Pike will be Saturday night. The business is hosting a “parents’ night out” event for Valentine’s Day, letting mom or dad “enjoy a worry-free evening with your special someone this Valentine’s Day while your child enjoys a night of structured activities in a supervised environment.” [Pentagon MMA]
Competing Convention Watch Parties — The Arlington GOP and Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans are hosting a Republican convention watch party tonight at Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill in Courthouse. The Arlington Young Democrats, meanwhile, are holding their own watch party for the last night of the GOP convention. That event is being held at Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon. [Facebook, Facebook]
Youth Hockey Team Profiled — As part of its “Harris’ Heroes” segment, TV station ABC 7 yesterday profiled the NOVA Cool Cats, a hockey team for youth with developmental disabilities. The team plays at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. [WJLA]
Road Rage Incident in Rosslyn — A man allegedly brandished a handgun and followed two women during a road rage incident on Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, after the female driver honked her horn while the man’s vehicle blocked her path. [Arlington County]
Lighting Task Force Needs More Time — A task force trying to determine whether to add lighting to the Williamsburg Middle School athletic fields says it will present its findings in January. The task force, chaired by former County Board primary challenger Erik Gutshall, was originally expected to wrap up its work in June. [InsideNova]
I-66 Public Hearing at W-L — VDOT is holding a public hearing on the changes planned for I-66 tonight. The hearing is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. at Washington-Lee High School’s cafeteria. Meanwhile, one letter-writer is decrying the “whining” from Arlington residents who complain about the proposed partial widening of I-66 while using it to make a reverse commute to Fairfax County — and the protestations from Arlington policymakers who are more than happy to have large employers come to Ballston and other dense neighborhoods along I-66, thus increasing traffic on the highway. [VDOT, Washington Post]
Wakefield, Yorktown Victorious in Key Games — The Wakefield boys basketball squad defeated Deep Run 50-48 on Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the 5A state basketball tournament. This will be the Warriors’ third semifinal appearance in four seasons. Yorktown’s hockey team, meanwhile, defeated Washington-Lee 5-3 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Friday night. [InsideNova, Twitter]
Abingdon Elementary Design Approved — On Thursday the Arlington School Board approved a final design for an addition and renovation to Abingdon Elementary School in Fairlington. The project will add 12 classrooms and 136 seats to the school, while renovating the gym, kitchen and media space. [Arlington Public Schools]
Retired Fire Officials Speak Out Against Station Move — Two retired Arlington County Fire Department officials say a proposed relocation of Fire Station 8 from Lee Highway to a county-owned location farther north does not make practical sense and would mostly benefit residents of Fairfax County. Residents around the current fire station and around its proposed new location have been protesting the planned move. [InsideNova]
Arlington Complying With Immigration Detainers — Arlington County law enforcement is complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests for jail inmates, but only if ICE reimburses the county for certain expenses and picks up the inmate within 48 hours. Fearing that some jurisdictions are not complying with federal detainers, Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly have proposed bills to make such requests mandatory. [Washington Post]
County Board to Meet With Commission Chairs — The Arlington County Board tonight is holding a meeting with the chairmen of the county’s advisory commissions. ARLnow.com hears that the Board has received complaints about certain commissions overstepping their bounds or operating inefficiently. The meeting will address diversity in commission membership, training for commission members and potential improvements to commission communication and community outreach. [Arlington County]
Big Weekend for High School Sports — On Saturday, Wakefield will face Deep Run in the first round of the 5A state basketball tournament. The game is being played at Robinson High School in Fairfax at 5:30 p.m. Tonight, meanwhile, in what’s being called the hockey rivalry game of the year, Washington-Lee will face Yorktown at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The puck drops at 8:10 p.m. [VHSL, Twitter]
Garvey Discusses Economic Incentive Push — Arlington has been actively making economic development deals, in some cases offering economic incentives to attract new employers to the county. But County Board Chair Libby Garvey said Arlington is being selective about the opportunities it pursues. “If it’s not good enough, we don’t do the deal,” she said. [InsideNova]
Tasty Sandwich from Arlington Eatery — Among the five “over-the-top, gluttonous, guilt-inducing new sandwiches in Washington” just highlighted by Washingtonian Magazine, there was one from the recently-opened Texas Jack’s in Lyon Park: a $12 brisket sandwich with tender Allen Brothers brisket and “a hefty spoonful of melty queso.” [Washingtonian]
Market Common Up For Sale — The Market Common Clarendon shopping and apartment development is on the market. Owned by TIAA-CREF, the development is expected to fetch a price in the hundreds of millions. [Bisnow]
Charity Ice Skating Party Tomorrow — The Pentagon Row skating rink will host a “Decades on Ice” charity skating party Saturday starting at 6 p.m. The evening will start with tunes from the 60s, going up a decade each hour until the 2000s. Half of all sales will be donated to help cure Cystic Fibrosis. [Facebook]
The 12th annual charity hockey game between the FBI and the Embassy of Canada Hockey Team will take place on Saturday, from 7-9 p.m., at Kettler Capitals Iceplex (627 N. Glebe Road).
The event is open to the public. Tickets are $5 at the door and raffle tickets will also be sold at the game.
All proceeds will go to the Soldier On fund, which helps Canadian military members and veterans “overcome their physical or mental health illness or injury through physical activity and sport.”
Photo via @CanEmbUSA
Wind Advisory Today — A wind advisory is in effect from noon until midnight today. Forecasters warn of 20-30 MPH winds with potentially damaging gusts up to 50 MPH. [National Weather Service]
Body Discovered Near DCA — A woman’s body was discovered near Reagan National Airport over the weekend. The body was found in the water around where Four Mile Run flows into the Potomac. [WJLA]
School Bus Camera Law in Effect — An new ordinance that will fine drivers caught on camera passing stopped school buses is now in effect. The ordinance, which was approved by the Arlington County Board in September, calls for high resolution cameras to be installed on the “stop arms” of school buses. Fines collected as a result of the ordinance will go to Arlington Public Schools. [WTOP]
Arlington’s Approach to Housing the Homeless — Arlington County is taking a “no-silos” approach to housing the chronically homeless that ignores divisions among county agencies. Arlington has housed nearly 300 chronically homeless men and women since 2011. Officials say the cost to house each person is $22,000 per year, compared to $45,000 in jail, shelter and emergency room costs should that person stay on the streets. [Washington Post]
Blues Watch Soccer at Four Courts — A “large contingent” of hockey players from the St. Louis Blues — including Patrik Berglund, Kevin Shattenkirk, Barret Jackman, Marcel Goc, Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko — reportedly watched the Chelsea vs. Manchester City English Premier League soccer game at Four Courts in Courthouse over the weekend. The Blues then beat the Capitals Sunday afternoon by a score of 4-3. [Instagram]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Wakefield Falls in Semifinals — The Wakefield High School boys basketball team lost in the 5A state tournament semifinals Saturday. Wakefield lost to Henrico 63-55, ending their season. [Sun Gazette]
Contract Loss Could Cost 165 Jobs in Arlington — Some 165 Lockheed Martin employees in Arlington are set to lose their jobs after the company lost a contract with the U.S. Army for information technology work. The contract was instead awarded to General Dynamics. [Washington Business Journal]
Construction Contract Awarded for New School — The Arlington School Board voted last week to award a $32.3 million contract for the construction of a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus. The school “is anticipated to be the first Net Zero Energy School on the East Coast,” thanks to a large solar array on the roof. With design, contingencies and “soft costs” factored in, the total cost of the school is projected at $43.8 million, down from the original $46.5 million cost estimate. [Arlington Public Schools]
W-L Falls to Yorktown in Shootout — Yorktown high school hockey club defeated Washington-Lee 3-2 in a four-round shootout Saturday night at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. It was the last game of the season for both teams.
Big Lines for Car Washes — With spring-like temperatures on Saturday came spring-like lines at local car washes. Motorists lined up to get the salt residue and winter grime washed off their cars. The line for Mr. Wash on N. Glebe Road extended all the way to Route 50 at one point. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Yorktown is a club team, not affiliated with the high school. All other high school ice hockey teams in Northern Virginia are affiliated with schools and play in the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League. Last year, Ferrara and his athletes decided they would make the leap from junior varsity to the varsity division, playing against the best teams in the area.
“I told the team, we can play JV and finish 9-1 or 10-0, or we can play varsity,” Ferrara said. “You can’t be an elite team without playing the best competition.”
The team took its lumps last year, losing 10-0 to Stone Bridge in Ashburn and 12-3 to Westfield, but that team had no seniors. The same crew stuck around this year and grew. Yorktown went from 19 players to more than 30 in the program, and have enough to field a JV team and several players on the practice squad.
Yorktown’s program was founded in 2003 and played home games in Reston until Kettler Capitals Iceplex was built in Ballston. But one of the most intriguing story lines in the team’s short history is happening this year with four of the players on the JV and practice squads: sophomore Tabitha Wood, senior Riki Langello and juniors Isabelle Wal and Caroline McCune.
“Once you get on the ice, I don’t think the guys see them as any different,” Ferrara said of his female players. He said it’s possible in future seasons they’ll play on the varsity team as players graduate. “It’s a little bit different with the camaraderie because they can’t get dressed in the locker room, but when you get on the ice, it comes down to talent level.”
The varsity team has several players who also compete on local travel teams, and Ferrara has set the expectation of making the playoffs. Yorktown was one win away last year, and if they can get there, Ferrara hopes they can, as he puts it, “make some noise.”
The group seems more up to the challenge this year; in Yorktown’s first game, against Westfield, they won 10-0. They followed that up with a 6-1 win over Bishop O’Connell (Arlington’s only other high school varsity hockey team) last week. Before the season, Ferrara said the number of players in the program has fueled competition, which has made everyone better and his players are confident.
Ferrara will know how good his team really is after this Friday’s game at Kettler Capitals Iceplex against reigning NVSHL champion Briar Woods.
“Friday night will be an interesting test for us,” Ferrara said. “It will either be a wake-up call to me that we’re one of the best teams in the league, or a wake-up call to the kids that they have a long way to go.”
Photo courtesy Jeremy Ferrara