Thu, 18 Oct 2018
Las Vegas

Thousands of Washington Capitals fans are gathering near the National Mall Tuesday to celebrate the ice hockey team's Stanley Cup championship, the team's first in its 44-year existence.

The team is set to parade down Constitution Avenue in the ceremonial heart of the city and then hold a rally on the mall between the Washington Monument and the Capitol.

Fans wearing Capitals jerseys are staking out the best vantage points along the street to see their favorite players, including the Russian-born captain Alexander Ovechkin, and catch a glimpse of the meter-tall Stanley Cup awarded to the winning team each year in the National Hockey League playoffs.

Washington is accustomed to major parades, such as those marking presidential inaugurations every four years, and demonstrations of all sorts for an array of causes and protests.

But the city has not had a chance to celebrate a major professional sports championship since 1992 when the city's National Football League franchise, the Redskins, last won the Super Bowl.

The Capitals' championship caught the city by surprise, with the team, even talented ones that compiled lofty regular season results in recent years, repeatedly having failed to advance through early rounds of the annual playoffs.

But the 2018 version last week defeated the first-year Vegas Golden Knights four games to one in the best-of-seven final series, winning the championship in Las Vegas. Thousands of Capitals' fans celebrated back home last Thursday, whooping and hollering their support on the streets of the nation's capital.

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