Tyler Hines is the reason many Capitals fans will forever associate “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons with Washington’s first Stanley Cup title. The 2012 lead single from the British folk band’s second album provided the soundtrack for the highlight video that debuted at the watch party inside Capital One Arena one year ago, when the Capitals clinched the championship in Las Vegas. Two subsequent versions of the video, which features game footage, snippets of play-by-play and shots of elated fans, were played at the Stanley Cup parade on the Mall and the team’s banner-raising ceremony on opening night.
“I’d been sitting on that song for years,” Hines, the Capitals’ game entertainment director, said Friday. “When I came to D.C. from Kansas City and everybody told me this city is cursed and we never win, it felt a lot like how Chiefs fans felt. I saw a couple of heartbreaks myself and thought, if the Caps ever get to the top, we need something special."
Hines started as an intern with the Capitals in 2009 and became a Mumford and Sons fan after seeing them perform in concert about three years later. “I Will Wait” stuck with him, and he began thinking of ways to incorporate it in one of the videos his department produces every season.
“All the lyrics talk about is humility and heartbreak, and then at the end it’s exuberance and joy,” Hines said. “The only way that fits is if the Caps win the Stanley Cup, so I sort of back-pocketed the idea for years. I put together multiple iterations of it in my head, and it just never panned out, because they never ended up finishing the deal.”
Hines’s first season as game entertainment director was 2013-14, when the Capitals missed the playoffs under Adam Oates. Three consecutive second-round exits followed, during which time Mumford and Sons put out a third album. Last spring, the wait — 44 years for fans who were there from the beginning — paid off.
Hines, 32, began storyboarding the video during the Eastern Conference finals. Video editor Robert Clarke helped bring the project to life.
“Once we beat Pittsburgh is when it started a conversation,” Jim Kowats, Monumental Sports and Entertainment’s senior VP of productions, said. “We started editing it when we were playing Tampa and then in earnest when they went into the Stanley Cup finals. We were adding shots up until the day it was posted — a lot of the playoff games and fan footage, and the watch parties here and around the city.”
The Capitals tweeted the first version of the video the day after Washington won the Cup. Based on the replies, it resonated with their audience.
“I am going to watch this for the rest of my life,” one fan wrote.
“That’s the most beautiful thing ever,” another commented.
“Unleash. The. Tears?” another asked.
“It’s kind of our version of ratings,” Kowats said of the feedback on the video, which has been retweeted more than 5,000 times. “We were all caught up in the excitement."
“I was thrilled,” Hines said. “There are certain points in the song I had always imagined, like the moment that we knew we were going to win the Cup. You could say that happened in Game 3 when they couldn’t stop us. The end of that video sort of became a party, in a sense, from the time the music picks up all the way until the end of the piece, because that’s how Capital One Arena was. We tried to make a video that was going to capture all of the most important on-ice moments, because it’s easy to forget how the Xs and Os went down if you’re a fan. I think that’s why people get into it so much, because they can see a play and remember how they felt or where they were when a goal was scored.”
Over the summer, additional footage was added from the parade and players’ time with the Cup.
“It just kept getting better because people had more memories to add,” Hines said.
For Capitals fans, “I Will Wait” will long evoke great memories of 2018, and maybe a few happy tears. Kowats attended Mumford and Sons’ concert at Capital One Arena in December and half expected lead singer Marcus Mumford to give a shout-out to the Capitals. In March, at a concert in Pittsburgh, someone in the crowd shouted “Let’s Go Caps” before the band performed “I Will Wait.”
On the first anniversary of Alex Ovechkin hoisting the Cup, the highlight video is making the rounds again. Hines hasn’t tired of the song.
“I relive the whole video in my head when I hear the song now,” he said. “I think we did a good job matching the video to the story that happened on the ice, so you’re getting a comprehensive recap of the run. You can’t say it’s ever going to happen again, so it might be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and that’s pretty special. People should have something to hold on to like that.”
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