The Washington Mystics announced a time change for their home game against the Minnesota Lynx on Thursday to accommodate Capitals fans coming to Capital One Arena for a watch party for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals.
The basketball game, which was previously scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m., was rescheduled to start at 4 p.m. Game 5 of the Capitals-Golden Knights is scheduled for 8 p.m. in Las Vegas, but the Chinatown arena will remain open for fans to watch the hockey game.
The arena has played host to three Caps watch parties so far, all of which have drawn thousands of fans, according to the team. The Capitals do not charge admission for the watch parties.
About 11,000 were on hand for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay, and luckily for Caps fans, the arena has been empty this week while the Mystics have been on a five-day trip to the West Coast.
That allowed about 12,400 fans — plenty of whom indulged in the arena’s reduced-price concessions — to gather at Capital One Arena to watch Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. More than 14,000 showed up for Wednesday’s Game 2.
Those crowds far eclipsed those at the Mystics’ first three home games this season.
Washington, which at 5-1 is off to its best start since the 2002 WNBA season, drew 7,400 in its home opener against Indiana, 4,509 on May 22 against the Las Vegas Aces, and 5,723 on Sunday in its first meeting with the Lynx.
The team has found success so far without star player Elena Delle Donne, who has been out with an unknown illness since Sunday. Delle Donne, who has had Lyme disease and suffered flare-ups in the past, was sent home from the team’s trip and met with her personal doctors Thursday. She has also met with team doctors.
The Mystics are also chugging along without backup point guard Natasha Cloud, who has kidney stones, and starting point guard Tayler Hill, who is still recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament from last summer.
Tickets that have already been purchased for the June 7 home game are still valid. In a news release Friday, Monumental Sports directed those who are unable to attend the game at its new time to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.