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Ron Weber will join Caps radio booth for Game 4: ‘We needed to have him be a part of it’

Ron Weber looks to the ice before a Capitals game in April 1997. (Rich Lipski/The Washington Post)
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For Capitals fans of a certain age, Monday’s radio broadcast of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals will feature a nostalgic blast from the past. Ron Weber, who called the first 1,936 games in franchise history as the Capitals’ original radio play-by-play voice, will join current broadcasters John Walton, Ken Sabourin and Ben Raby in the booth high above Capital One Arena during the pregame show and through the first intermission.

“It was something that came to me in the last couple of days,” Walton, the Capitals’ play-by-play man, told The Post after announcing the news Sunday night. “Ron never got to call a Stanley Cup Final, and he meant so much to so many who grew up here. We needed to have him be a part of it somehow.”

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Weber, a Hall of Famer, was pushed out as the Capitals’ radio voice after the conclusion of his 23rd season with the team in April 1997. Washington would advance to its first Stanley Cup finals in franchise history the following year, and while Weber attended almost every game of that playoff run, home and away, he did so without a headset.

“It’ll be neat,” Weber, 84, told The Post after accepting Walton’s invitation to join the booth for Game 4. “How it will compare to other things I’ve done? I’d have to answer that after the game. It’s something I’ve never experienced.”

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Weber, who has taken the Metro from his home in Wheaton to about 35 Capitals home games a season since he retired, was already planning to attend Game 4 with a friend. Before she underwent two serious back operations, Weber attended most games until this season with his wife, Mary Jane.

“I won’t be doing the play-by-play; I’ll just chirp in with whatever,” Weber said of his role on Monday’s broadcast. “I don’t want to do the play-by-play. I want people to remember me from before I was over the hill. I’m due to have cataract operations coming up, so I don’t think my eyes would be good enough to pick up all the numbers.”

“He’s a broadcasting hero,” said Walton, who met Weber when he became the Capitals’ play-by-play man seven seasons ago. “If you’re a Caps fan who grew up listening to 1500 and listening to Ron call the games, it’s a chance to tie back to the past. If the Caps go on to win this thing, Ron Weber absolutely needs to be a part of it. He’s nothing but class. He’s generous with his time, and he’s just a great person. It makes all the sense in the world to have him part of it upstairs [Monday] night.”

After the first intermission, Weber will return to his regular seats in the third row of Section 402, where he and his friend watched the Capitals’ first Stanley Cup finals home win in franchise history Saturday.

“That was the most impactful crowd, as far as the fans go, at any Caps game I’ve ever seen, counting the old Capital Centre,” Weber said. “They were into it, and there was no need to try to pump up the crowd. They were pumped up an hour and a half before the game. If you had an enthusiasm meter, that would’ve reached new high levels.”

The enthusiasm meter might break if the Capitals take a 3-1 series lead with a victory in Game 4. Two more wins and, well …

“I’ve waited 44 years,” Weber said. “If they can pull off two more wins, Ted Leonsis is going to get an email from me to say, ‘How about letting the guy who’s seen more Capitals games live than any other person on Earth be part of the victory parade?’ I would very much like to do that.”

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