Avid Washington Capitals fan Vicki White was talking to one of the team’s representatives on a Zoom call earlier this week, sharing her experiences as a respiratory therapist at MedStar Harbor Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Columbia resident was led to believe some of the interview would be part of a video the Capitals were making to honor front-line workers. But the team had a different plan.
Suddenly, Capitals right winger Tom Wilson appeared on the Zoom call, which got an “Ohhhh!” and a big smile and an enthusiastic wave from White.
“I’m just here to surprise you and thank you for everything you do for us and the community and everybody and we have some news for you that you’re going to be our first Blue Star of the Game on Feb. 7,” Wilson told White. “We’re gong to honor you and we’re going to play for you that night and just say ‘thank you’ for everything you do.”
Before the season, the Capitals asked for their fans who work on the front lines to submit entries about their stories on the job during the pandemic.
This season, they unveiled a third jersey, — blue with a big “W” on the chest modeled after the team’s 2018 NHL Stadium Series jerseys — and during select home games when the jersey is worn, the team is honoring a front-line worker as its Blue Star of the Game.
Although White will not be at the arena, she will be announced as the Blue Star of the Game with the starting lineups, she received the same game jersey the Capitals will be wearing Sunday and the team will play a video to further honor her.
She became a Caps fan 12 years ago when her daughter who was in the eighth grade, asked if they could go to a game for her birthday.
The mother and daughter have been die-hard fans since. They try to make it to at least one home game per season and were in the massive pack of red at the team’s 2018 Stanley Cup parade.
For many of the team’s 7 p.m. starts — the time White gets off work — she races to her car to tune in the game on the radio and then races to the television when she gets home.
White, who said she submitted her entry on a whim, never imagined the Capitals would reach out to her.
“I was just totally, totally, totally surprised when Tom Wilson showed up on my computer screen. It was really, really nice,” she said. “You know, with the COVID sometimes you just feel like you’re work isn’t seen. And with all this going on, you just feel really sad because you see a lot of sad things all the time working with the patients. And this just really came at a good time for me because a lot of my patients were doing a lot better, so it was like the icing on the cake.”
White had the chance to speak with Wilson for a few prized moments, stating: “It just kind of makes my day, so you keep playing like you’re playing and I’ll be real happy.”
After White thanked Wilson, calling him a ‘ray of sunshine,’ the Caps star responded: “Well, it’s a huge privilege and honor, so thank you so much. I just wanted to take a couple seconds to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I know you’re right there in the thick of it and we really appreciate all your support and everything you do.”