With an assist from the NHL and NBC, the Vegas Golden Knights have showcased a number of their celebrity fans during these Stanley Cup finals. Rapper and one-time Atlanta Thrashers fan Lil Jon performed before Game 1. The Vegas-based band Imagine Dragons may or may not have cursed its hometown hockey team by performing on the ice at T-Mobile Arena before Game 2. Panic! at the Disco, another Vegas band, will attempt to reverse the curse with a performance at the Bellagio Fountains before Thursday’s Game 5. Singer Celine Dion and comedian Carrot Top are also among the Golden Knights’ first-year fans.
The Capitals have a few celebrity fans, too.
“They’re newscasters and politicians,” NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer, who has helped produce the pregame shows during the Stanley Cup finals, told me before Game 3 in D.C. “They’re not exactly going to go out there and do a song and a dance, but at the same time, many of them are attending the games.”
Here’s a look at some of the Capitals’ celebrity fans who could be celebrating the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title as soon as Thursday night:
See, the Capitals’ celebrity supporters aren’t all newscasters. Carter, the former Wonder Woman actress and longtime Montgomery County resident, has been wearing the same pants, same shirt and same jewelry during the Stanley Cup finals, so as not to mess with the Capitals’ mojo.
“All Caps. Go Caps,” she told The Washington Post’s Sarah Larimer this week. “This is truth, justice and the American way.”
The “Wheel of Fortune” host announced the starting lineups before Game 3 at Capital One Arena and explained that he has been a Capitals season ticket holder for 13 years. “We have seen great teams, great players, great moments, and we have seen triumph, and we have also seen disappointment,” Sajak said as 18,000 fans waved red glow sticks. “But this season, this team, this playoff run has surpassed it all. So let’s win three more and hoist the Cup, whaddya think?”
Sajak grew up a Chicago Blackhawks fan, but adopted the Los Angeles Kings when he lived in Southern California during the Wayne Gretzky era. Since moving to the Washington area more than a decade ago, he has been all about Alex Ovechkin.
“I lived through Gretzky, and all those great Blackhawk players, but I’ve never seen anything like this guy,” Sajak said of Ovechkin in 2008. “I’ve seen skilled players, but I’ve never seen anybody with that level of skill who is that willing to be physical and mix things up. He’s a combination of everything you like about hockey: He’s faster than anyone I’ve seen. He’s quicker than anyone I’ve seen. He’s got a longer reach than anyone I’ve seen. I said when Ted [Leonsis] signed him for 13 years, ‘Hockey just may work here.’”
The Fox News anchor has been rocking the red for years and has attended games during this season’s playoff run with his family.
The “Meet the Press” moderator was as surprised as anyone when the Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round.
Scott Van Pelt
The “SportsCenter” host and University of Maryland graduate defended D.C.’s reputation as a sports town this week and urged fellow Capitals fans to embrace optimism ahead of Game 5. So what if he was a self-professed bandwagon Capitals fan seven years ago?
The former host of “Meet the Press” is from Los Angeles and grew up watching Gretzky and the Kings, but he became a Capitals fan about 10 years ago because his son, Max, followed the team.
“I watch, I go, I try to learn,” Gregory told the New York Times in 2009. “I have a couple of buddies that I go with who know a lot more about it than I do. And I’ve picked it up. I have to say, seeing hockey in person is awesome. I have an appreciation for the explosiveness and speed and control of Ovechkin. It’s something that I almost immediately identified and have been able to appreciate. … I also think the experience of being at a Caps game is great. The fans are great. It can get a little rough around the edges when you’ve got kids there, but not as bad as football.”
King grew up a New York Rangers fan but later adopted the Capitals as his No. 1 team. He was part of Home Team Sports’s Capitals and Orioles coverage in the early 1980s and was featured as the Capitals’ “Celebrity Captain” on a Pro Set hockey card in 1992.
Vegas can have Lil Jon. D.C. has Lil Wayne. Sort of. The rapper first tweeted about the Capitals in 2012 and congratulated his “homie” Alex Ovechkin after a hat trick two years ago.
David Letterman (????)
Okay, so Letterman may not be a die-hard Capitals fan, but he was rooting for them at a first-round playoff game against Toronto last season. In one of the greatest interviews ever, the former late-night host claimed he attended Ball State with Ovechkin for two years. Letterman is more of a Capitals fan than “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kenan Thompson anyhow.
Read more on the Capitals: