OVER THE LAST few days, there has been
fresh, encouraging proof from people and organizations around town that Greater Washington still wants--and deserves--its major league hockey team. At last count, some 40 to 50 new requests had been received by the Washington Capitals for season tickets--even though no one can yet confirm there will be another season of hockey here. We hope the orders continue to roll in, as one loud message to would-be financiers that the Caps belong where they are. But those who are scurrying to help make this happen are in desperate need of more news, clues and incentives from Caps owner Abe Pollin.
The question isn't whether Mr. Pollin would like the Caps to stay here; that is what he has wanted since Day One of this hapless hockey team. For eight years, he has wanted a spot in the playoffs for the Caps. That kind of success allows a team to give its owner a good gate--instead of its being the other way around. What isn't known at all by the fans is precisely what Mr. Pollin thinks is possible or impossible in the way of rescue attempts. And when it comes to raising money or levels of expectation, that silence is anything but golden.
What, for example, will happen if no new financing is found for the franchise this summer? As of yesterday, Mr. Pollin had not advised the National Hockey League of any absence of the Capitals in the 1982-83 season. Does this mean he is thinking of hanging on for another season, come what may? Or could Mr. Pollin's decision hinge on the degree to which the local area demonstrates its ticket-buying support? Or is everyone on a wild goose chase?
We continue to believe that Washington is a first- rate sports town, worthy of major league franchises and patient in its quest for winning teams. But while members of the Save the Caps Committee keep up their frantic efforts to attract investors large and small, the current owner could help their case as well as his own by sharing a few specifics on the severity of the situation.