Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kettler Capitals Iceplex Pick-Up Dissappoints

So the Caps have this new facility atop the parking garage of Ballston Commons. They have a regular adult pick-up hockey sessions out and I notice that I could play today at 11:00 am. Very cool. I had some time to travel down Glebe Road and get some shots on net so I packed my gear and left.

On the 8th floor of the parking garage, the Capitals new practice facility looks different from the few weeks ago at the naming. There is a pro shop that carries Sid "the Kid" Crosby jerseys (as well as Caps, Red Wings, and Wild jerseys) and good selection of sticks and gear. I didn't get my skates sharpened there but it looked as if they had a guy who knew what he was doing back there, not just some high school kid that just sharpens rentals all day.

The facility is new and clean and nice. But the problem isn't with the facility, it's with the price. I had to fork over $15 to play pick-up. While the average around the DC metro area is around $10, the Kettler is keeping the casual players away. The total price is actually $16 if you include parking (but don't dally, after 3 hours it's more). You can purchase a 10 for $10 pass, which may not be a bad buy since your going to spend $100 on pick-up anyway.

Maybe it's because of the price, or the fact that it's new, but the session only drew four players including myself. The entire session was just shooting on the net and passing around. The ice was actually very good. They didn't clean the sheet after public session (most likely because there were only four of us), but the ice was still in good shape. We didn't play on the Capitals sheet where there are the official NHL markings on the ice and that was kind of disappointing.

Unless players start showing up it's not really worth the time or money to spend on Kettler's pick-up sessions. The locker rooms were a high-light, we dressed in the Smythe locker room. It featured some large pictures of Roy, Parent and Dryden. There are single shower stalls which don't drain correctly; you can flood the bathroom just by taking a shower.

I guess I was expecting a lot more than what I got playing at the Caps practice facility. If there had been more players it maybe worth the high price.

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