Capitals forward Joel Ward looked unharmed and seemed to be in good spirits after practice Monday, two days after being trapped in a Dallas hotel bathroom stall for nearly 40 minutes – a terrifying ordeal some are referring to as “bathroom gate”– before Washington’s game against the Stars on Saturday night.
Ward, who was eating breakfast and “looking forward to having a coffee and reading the paper” before catching the team bus to the arena, saw an average morning turn upside down when he couldn’t unlock the bathroom stall and found himself stuck with less than an hour until the departure of the team’s bus for the arena. Karl Alzner, John Carlson, and the maintenance staff at the Omni Hotel in Dallas engaged in a dramatic rescue mission, eventually sliding Ward a ladder. He climbed over the locked door and into the arms of his teammates — all in time to make the bus.
“It’s never a good feeling when you’re stuck in a washroom stall,” said Ward, who didn’t elaborate regarding his previous experiences with that feeling.
“Karl was good about it. He kept me company while I was waiting for help. He sang a few songs to me, told me to sit tight. I told him I had nowhere to go,” Ward said.
Though he emerged from the stall unscathed, it’s unclear whether the emotional scars generated by the incident will be quick to heal.
“At one point there was a photoshop gallery [of teammates' pictures on Twitter of the incident]. So I think they were laughing at me” as opposed to with, Ward said. “…what can you do? It is what it is.”
Despite the unique nature of the situation and its storybook ending, Ward said he didn’t expect his story to garner the attention it has over the past few days.
“I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t really think it would spiral to this big a case,” Ward said. “We were just making jokes about it, and next thing you know I have my own mother texting me, asking me what was going on in the bathroom.”