Press Club
Capitals practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex (via Monumental Sports and Entertainment)

Oakridge Elementary will get to cheer on the Washington Capitals heading into the playoffs.

More than 280 third through fifth grade students will participate in a pep rally at the Arlington Ridge school tomorrow (Friday), just days before teams begin facing off for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The event, dubbed “Soar to the Playoffs,” is being organized by the Caps and sponsored by Boeing, which has its D.C. headquarters in nearby Crystal City. The event will run from noon to 1 p.m. and feature street hockey, as well as an appearance from Caps mascot Slapshot.

As the season winds down and playoff matchups are firming up, there’s news swirling around Alexander Ovechkin’s injury and ability to start in the playoffs. He sat out of Tuesday’s game against the New York Islanders. The team is set to play the Islanders again tonight at 7 p.m. on Long Island.

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The Washington Capitals are hosting a women’s hockey tournament and a series of clinics at the Capitals’ practice facility in Ballston next month.

The four game showcase from the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), part of the association’s “Dream Gap Tour,” will take place from March 4-6 at the Medstar Capital Iceplex on N. Glebe Road. It will feature teams from Minnesota, Boston, Calgary, and Toronto. This is the sixth stop for the tour, but the first time in the D.C. area.

The intention of the tournament is to bring attention to the “dream gap” that exists for young girls who want to play hockey.

“Essentially, a boy can lace up his skates and dream of playing in the NHL one day whereas young girls don’t have a league that pays a livable wage where they can solely focus on hockey to dream about,” a PWHPA spokesperson tells ARLnow about why this is an important program. “There’s a dream gap that exists that we’d like to close for girls.”

This is also part of the Capitals’ ALL CAPS ALL HER initiative with the aim of providing access and support for female hockey players across the region. There are 5,332 registered youth hockey players in Virginia, according to statistics provided by the Capitals, with only about 12% of those players being female.

“The Capitals are committed to continuing to grow the game at all levels, which includes youth and female hockey. The D.C. region has seen phenomenal interest and growth in hockey participation over the last decade-plus, and we’re proud to play a part in that development through initiatives like the PWHPA’s Dream Gap Tour,” Peter Robinson, the Caps’ director of youth hockey development, wrote in a statement.

Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday game are as low as $15. The game will be streamed on the official Capitals Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as on the Monumental Sports Network.

Hockey clinics will also be held at the Iceplex in Ballston for both youth and adult female players on March 3-5. The clinics will include work on and off the ice and will feature PWHPA athletes, coaches, and Caps youth hockey development staff. Participants will receive a complimentary weekend pass to the games.

The PWHPA features approximately 125 of the world’s best female hockey players and was specifically formed to create a women’s hockey league that pays a living wage to players while provideing elite-level resources like trainers, marketing, and facilities.

“We wanted to partner with the Capitals because of their involvement in the community & girls’ hockey,” a PWHPA spokesperson said. “Particularly, the launch [of] their ALL CAPS ALL HER initiative. It’s important for us to partner with organizations who want to grow the women’s game, which the Capitals definitely do.”

The 137,000-square-foot Medstar Capital Iceplex, which got a new name in 2018, opened 15 years ago. In addition to offering a venue for public skates and local hockey clubs, it serves as the Capitals’ practice facility and team headquarters.

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Ballston BID is hosting Washington Capital watch parties (logo courtesy of Ballston BID)

The Ballston Business Improvement District is hosting a series of Washington Capitals watch parties as the local hockey team closes in on another playoff spot.

Beginning this Thursday (Jan. 20), the Ballston BID is partnering with the Capitals and Ballston Quarter for seven “home-away-from-home” watch parties at Quarter Market Plaza at 4238 Wilson Blvd. The series of parties will run through the end of hockey’s regular season, which is April 29 for the Capitals.

There’ll be high-definition jumbo screens set-up outdoors and indoors, plus food, drinks, and music from a DJ. There’ll also be giveaways like Caps tickets, branded stadium seat cushions and autographed items.

“We are proud that Ballston is home to the Caps’ practice facility, naturally we’re thrilled to celebrate our hometown team even when they’re on the road! This inaugural event series will be the new place to watch Caps away games,” Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone wrote in a press release. “Everyone from the Caps superfan down to the general passerby will find a great reason to sit down, watch the game, support our team and support our local businesses.”

Ballston has been home to the team’s practice facility and headquarters since 2006.

“We are excited to partner with Ballston BID to offer away-game Capitals watch parties at Ballston Quarter for the remainder of the regular season,” the Capitals’ vice president of marketing, Amanda Tischler, also noted in the release. “With Ballston serving as the location of our practice facility MedStar Capitals Iceplex, we are thrilled that area fans will be able to cheer on the team from a unique home environment.”

The Washington Capitals are once again skating toward the playoffs, led by one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history, Alexander Ovechkin. Even with the season only about half over, it appears that the team is well on its way to making the playoffs for an eighth straight season.

The Caps won the team’s first – and, so far, only – Stanley Cup championship in 2018, celebrating in Clarendon.

More details about the parties, including what local eateries and businesses will be participating, are set to be announced via social media as it gets closer to the events, organizers tell ARLnow.

For those who are not hockey fans, also in Ballston on Jan. 20, there’s a screening of the James Bond classic “License to Kill” complete with a DJ live scoring the film. That’s taking place at WHINO and part of a six-month series highlighting James Bond movies put on Shaolin Jazz.

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Morning Notes

Tesla Dealership Coming to S. Glebe Road — ARLnow’s scoop from February is all but confirmed: “Tesla Inc. appears to be filling the high-end auto dealership void left by Maserati’s closure in South Arlington. The electric automaker will convert the former Maserati and Alfa Romeo dealership at 2710 S. Glebe Road into a 63,854-square-foot auto sales, delivery and vehicle service center, per plans obtained from Construction Journal. The work is expected to be fairly quick, starting in November and finishing up by January.” [Washington Business Journal]

Long Bridge Concert Tomorrow — “Join us, along with Arlington Parks & Recreation, Saturday, September 25 for the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center Community Celebration featuring a festive fall beer garden and live entertainment including Virginia native and HOT 99.5 Rising Artist Winner, Jerel Crockett beginning at 5 PM. The night will include a diverse lineup of some of the DMV’s hottest DJs, Farrah Flosscett and King Iven, as well as the rock/pop/funk band, Up All Night, playing all your favorite songs from the 80s, 90s, and today.” [National Landing]

Big Crash on GW Parkway — “A reader sends this photo of the earlier crash on the GW Parkway, near Key Bridge, in case anybody drives by later and wonders what happened to the wall.” [Twitter, Twitter]

The End is Near for an Old Home — “A demolition permit has been granted the owner of the 130-year-old Fellows-McGrath home at Washington Blvd. near Sycamore St. It’s disappointing to Tom Dickinson and other preservation activists who had filed an application to protect it… Manassas realtor Masum Kahn, who bought the house after eight months on the market to build modern homes, has not set a demolition schedule. Though he would consider selling ‘for the right price.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Caps Player Honored by ACFD — “Earlier this month the ACFD presented @Capitals @GarnetHathaway with a citizens award for his charity known as #HathsHeroes. This charity has given so much to local first responders and we are extremely thankful to Mr. Hathaway for his work in the community.” [Twitter]

Oddity of Arlington Transit History — “The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor is a famous example of early transit-oriented development because of the Orange Line, but the area was home to an innovative transit experiment long before Metro. From 1936 through 1939, a streetcar-bus hybrid provided service from the City of Fairfax to Rosslyn and into DC.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Arrest in Seven Corners Sex Assault Case — “Patrick Michael Chaloupka, 38, of Woodbridge has been charged with additional felonies for another sexual assault that occurred at a Falls Church hotel. Officers responded to a hotel on Aug. 26 in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard for the report of an assault that occurred three days prior.” [Fairfax County Police Department]

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Morning Notes

Snow Removal Ordinance in Effect — “A recent weather event has concluded and deposited snow/ice accumulations of less than 6 inches. Arlington’s sidewalk snow removal ordinance requires residents and businesses to clear adjacent public sidewalks of snow and ice by 1:00 PM on Wednesday, February 3.” [Arlington County]

More Back-to-School Dates Expected Soon — “We look forward to welcoming Level 2 Career & Technical Education students to the Arlington Career Center for hybrid/in-person instruction starting [today]. We continue to assess additional student return dates… The next group to return will be Level 2, PreK through second grade and countywide elementary special education students. Return dates for this group will be communicated at the Feb. 18 School Board meeting.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Arlington Rent Declines Slowing — “Arlington’s COVID- and shutdown-caused drop in apartment rents appears to be hitting bottom for now, according to new data from Apartment List, but the county’s rental market is still significantly more affordable than before the pandemic. For the year ending in January, rents in Arlington were down 14 percent from a year before… the drop from December to January was just 0.5 percent, lower than in preceding months.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Ranks No. 14 in ‘Walk-Friendly’ List — “About 30 years ago, Arlington took the lead in suburban redevelopment in Virginia, creating walkable urban areas around the metro system. Now that momentum has pushed Arlington (and its most walkable neighborhoods of Clarendon-Courthouse, Ballston-Virginia Square, and Lyon Village) into the top walkable cities — something we can expect to continue when Amazon moves in.” [MSN]

Hope’s Prison Oversight Bill Dies — From Del. Patrick Hope (D): “This is not the end — only the beginning. Every agency in Va must be transparent and accountable to the public which they serve. We will regroup and come back next session with a bill that prioritizes [Virginia Dept. of Corrections] oversight.” [Twitter]

Case of the Stray Hockey Sticks — A shipment of hockey sticks destined for the Washington Capitals practice facility in Ballston, to be used by new Caps acquisition Zdeno Chara, was apparently mis-delivered to a random New Jersey man’s home. [ESPN, Barstool Sports]

Bezos Relinquishing CEO Role at Amazon — “Jeff Bezos said Tuesday that he will step down as chief executive of Amazon, leaving the helm of the company he founded 27 years ago. Bezos will transition to the role of executive chair in the third quarter of this year, which starts July 1, the company said. Andy Jassy, the chief executive of Amazon Web Services, will take over as CEO of Amazon.” The company yesterday revealed designs for the second phase of its Arlington HQ2. [NBC News]

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Morning Notes

Vigil Planned Saturday in Green ValleyUpdated at noon — “Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Black Parents of Arlington and Yolande Kwinana will be hosting a vigil at Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School Field, to honor those who have died at the hands of police. Speakers will enlighten the community on what they can do to help enact change in our Arlington.” [Facebook]

Ballston Macy’s Redevelopment Proposal Delayed — “The owner of air rights above the [potentially for sale] Macy’s building in Ballston will have additional time to move forward with a planned redevelopment of the space, if County Board members act on its request June 13. Board members are being asked to extend until July 2023 the ability of the owner to come to the county government with a development plan. The current site plan, which sets out development parameters for the parcel, was set to expire in several weeks.” [InsideNova]

Local CrossFit Gym Speaks Out — “Replacing one CEO for another is not real change. We welcome the retirement of CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman as a step in the right direction, but we find it woefully inadequate. The appointment of Dave Castro as new CEO is unmistakably a tone deaf move that is shying away from making any difficult and meaningful change.” [@crossfitsoutharlington/Instagram]

Op-Ed: Parking Proposal Not Fair to Green Valley — “While millions marched for equity and racial justice last week, the Arlington County government posted a board agenda item that turns these actions into mere slogans. A license agreement would have the county government turn a newly acquired $1 million property in the Green Valley community into a parking lot for WETA. This action is but one in a series of events that draw attention to the inequity systemic within the county.” [InsideNova]

Caps Resuming Practices in Ballston — “The Washington Capitals have announced their date for small group activities to resume: Thursday, June 11. The announcement comes a day after MedStar Capitals Iceplex, the team’s practice facility, posted it would begin the state’s Phase 2 reopening plan this weekend. According to the Capitals, MedStar Capitals Iceplex will remain closed to the public.” [Russian Machine Never Breaks, Washington Capitals]

Nearby: Fairfax Co. Expects Office Vacancy Spike — “Fairfax County’s office vacancy rate is likely to suffer as remote meetings continue to be the norm, the county’s economic development chief warned in early June. Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, delivered that warning to the county board of supervisors during a June 2 meeting.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Morning Notes

Police Searching for Groping Suspect — “N. Glebe Road at 24th Road N. At approximately 7:45 p.m. on April 1, police were dispatched to the report of an assault just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 7:30 p.m., the female victim was walking in the area when the unknown suspect approached her from behind and grabbed her buttocks. The victim turned around and yelled at the suspect, who fled on foot prior to police arrival.” [Arlington County]

Beyer Concerned About Small Biz Loan Program — “U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) this evening held an urgent conference call with representatives of over a dozen Virginia lending institutions to discuss questions and concerns about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan program.” [Press Release]

Caps Player Helping to Feed First Responders — “Caps player Garnet Hathaway may be off the ice during this pandemic, but he’s leaning into giving back. He’s got a program that is providing meals to Arlington County’s first responders.” [Fox 5]

Should Some Lanes Become Pedestrian Zones? — With greatly reduced levels of traffic, and guidelines for those out and about to maintain six feet of distance from one another, some localities are mulling temporarily repurposing vehicle travel lanes into pedestrian zones. A few residents are calling on Arlington to consider something similar. [Twitter, Twitter]

Follow ARLnow on Instagram — Stuck at home and want to see more of what’s going on around different parts of Arlington? Follow our Instagram account for daily updates from ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott. [Instagram]

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Morning Notes

Reminder: Tap Water Change Today — “The District of Columbia, Arlington County and northeastern Fairfax County will clean out their tap water network starting Monday — a safe, annual process. Service continues uninterrupted during the process, which runs from March 30 through May 4. During that time, drinking water in the may taste slightly different. But the purification process remains unchanged and the water is essentially unchanged.” [ARLnow]

Jail Takes Extra Precautions — “We have created a unit that is strictly for all new individuals that are committed to the jail. These individuals are ‘quarantined’ from the rest of the population for an initial 14 days and checked daily by our Medical Staff. With the Detention Center population being low, we were able to move inmates around, creating the safest environment for those individuals that have been remanded to our custody and for new individuals entering the facility.” [Arlington County]

Human Services from a Distance — “Arlington’s Department of Human Services (DHS) is taking steps to provide services that don’t require in-person visits in an effort to contribute to the community slowdown of the spread of COVID-19.” [Arlington County]

Post Editorial Assails Arlington Judges — “Parisa Dehghani-Tafti last fall ran for commonwealth’s attorney on a promise of criminal justice reform, and voters in Arlington County and Falls Church chose her — and that platform — over the longtime, tough-on-crime incumbent. Now her efforts to deliver on her promise of progressive justice have run into opposition from judges who have taken highly unusual — and some say inappropriate — steps to undermine her discretion as the jurisdiction’s top elected prosecutor.” [Washington Post]

Shirlington Circle Closure in Place — “The northern section of the Shirlington Circle bridge over the general purpose and express lanes on I-395 will close from 10 p.m., Sunday, March 29 until midnight, Wednesday night, April 1… Travelers driving north on the I-395 general purpose lanes will not be able to access Shirlington from Exit 6.” [Press Release]

New Cap Gets Arlington Orientation — “When trying to adjust to life in a new city, it can be nice to have a familiar face around to help you. That’s exactly what Brenden Dillon had after he was traded to the Capitals in Joel Ward… Dillon and Ward were teammates in San Jose for three seasons from 2015 to 2018. Dillon credited Ward for helping him get acclimated to Arlington, Va. and the Washington area.” [NBC Sports Washington]

Tree Advocates Worry About Fate of Big Oak — “In the latest in Arlington’s tree wars, homeowners at 5920 N. 35th St. joined with passionate volunteers from the Arlington Tree Action Group to sound alarms over the threat to a towering water oak outside their home of 28 years, which might soon be a tear-down… The owners believe it is Arlington’s tallest outside the national cemetery.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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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.

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Ballston Quarterfest — the event that replaced Taste of Arlington last year — is coming back this summer with some new features.

This year’s festival — now dubbed the Quaterfest Crawl — has been scheduled for May 16, along Wilson Blvd. between N. Taylor Street and N. Randolph Street. The event is scheduled to run from 12-8 p.m. rain or shine, which are extended hours compared to last year.

The event is hosted by BallstonGives, a charitable arm of the Ballston Business Improvement District.

Unlike Taste of Arlington, restaurants don’t come to Quarterfest’s main drag and set up tents. The Quarterfest Crawl is a for-purchase wristband that gets the visitor access to free tastings and special discounts on meals at dozens of restaurants around the neighborhood.

The event is free and open to the public, but a wristband is required to participate in the restaurant crawl and to get drink tickets for the street pub — a pop-up bar serving beer, cider, wine and cocktails. The Quarterfest Crawl wristband is $45 online before May 1, though there are other prices for other types of packages.

This year, the event is set to feature a new “culinary discovery” and expo pavilion at the center of the festival, also on Wilson Blvd.

“Think of the culinary discovery pavilion as a live cooking demonstration area with classroom seating and additional seating for people to stand and socialize,” Ballston BID spokeswoman Catherine Roper said said. You’ll also be able to try what’s being cooked.

“Think of this as Quarterfest’s Kitchen Stadium,” Roper said.

Meanwhile, at the expo pavilion, visitors can turn in a fully stamped “Crawl passport” to be entered to win two free tickets to a Washington Capitals game. Registration is now open for local businesses that want to sign up as exhibitors at the expo pavilion or as sponsors for the event.

In addition to food, drink and exhibitors, attendees will also be able to enjoy some live music. The following bands are scheduled to play throughout the event.

File photo

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Washington Capitals star, former Arlington resident and Papa John’s pitchman Alexander Ovechkin dropped by an Arlington fire station with free pizzas for the firefighters yesterday.

The surprise visit happened Thursday afternoon at Fire Station 2, near Ballston, where the Caps practice. Ovechkin can be seen in a video (below) dropping off pizzas and taking a brief tour of the station and ACFD’s Truck 106.

(The truck often runs calls in the City of Falls Church, which contracts with Arlington to provide fire services.)

“Yeah!” Ovechkin can be heard saying as he sits in the driver’s seat, with the truck’s lights blinking. “Everybody’s going to be afraid of me on the road.”

“We love station visits,” ACFD said in a Tweet shortly after the visit. “This one though… TOP! Thanks for dropping by @ovi8. Come by anytime!”

Screen cap via @Capitals/Twitter

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