August 27, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Alex Ovechkin and his Capitals teammates aren’t the only ones getting fitted for Stanley Cup rings this offseason. Every full-time employee who worked for Monumental Sports & Entertainment on June 7 — the day the Capitals clinched their first title in franchise history — received a surprise in their inboxes Monday. The email, from the company’s head of human resources, informed them that they will receive championship rings as a gift from Capitals owner and Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis.
Approximately 500 full-time employees will be fitted for rings this week, according to a company spokeswoman. The employees’ rings, which will be different — and presumably less lavish — than the championship rings specially designed for Capitals players and coaches, will be delivered sometime in the fall. Renderings of the rings were not available.
It has become common for owners to recognize the contributions of non-players, coaches and front office personnel with championship rings. Last December, Penguins co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle presented roughly 150 Stanley Cup rings to every full-time worker at the team’s PPG Paints Arena. In 2016, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert arranged for more than 1,000 full- and part-time employees of the team and Quicken Loans Arena to receive rings after LeBron James led Cleveland to its first NBA title. Astros owner Jim Crane gave out roughly 1,100 World Series rings to people connected with his organization last year.
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During the Stanley Cup finals, Leonsis also surprised approximately 200 full-time employees with a trip to Las Vegas, where they were put up in the Excalibur for one night and given a ticket to see the Capitals play the Golden Knights in either Game 1 or Game 2.
“I never expected an owner of the company to do this,” Capitals guest relations manager Omar Castro said at the time. “We get to share in this with them. … He’s thinking of us as part of a family, as part of the experience.”
The Capitals will open the regular season with a Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony against the Boston Bruins on Oct. 3.
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