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Seeing red: Olney man gets a ringside seat to Capitals’ storybook season –

by Terri Hogan

Senior Staff Writer

Winning the Stanley Cup was a thrill for all Washington Capitals fans, but Olney resident Patrick Duffy had a ringside seat for the storybook season.

Duffy, a resident of James Creek, is the senior vice president of global partnerships for Monumental Sports, working with partners of the Capitals, Wizards and other professional sports teams.

Partners are the businesses whose names fans see around the arena.

“We create partnerships and get the brands engaged with our teams,” he said.

Duffy has held the position for four and a half years.

Like all fans, he savored the Caps winning the first two playoff rounds against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins.

As post-season play intensified for the Capitals, it did the same for Duffy, especially when Washington faced the Tampa Bay Lightning in the third round.

Prior to joining the Capitals, Duffy spent 10 years with the Lightning, who won the Stanley Cup in 2004.

“It was nice to beat the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals, especially coming back after being down in the series,” he said.

Then came the Stanley Cup Finals against expansion team the Vegas Golden Knights, which brought more intensity for the Capitals – and a little sibling rivalry for Duffy.

Duffy’s younger brother Steven works for the Golden Knights, holding a similar position as director of corporate partnerships.

“Vegas had an amazing season. No one thought they would be this good,” Duffy said. “They did a great job of establishing a fan base and creating a great atmosphere. It was a great story that made for national interest.”

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis flew 200 employees of Monumental Sports to Vegas for games one and two, including Duffy.

Duffy said until the championship series, he and his brother had been rooting for each other’s teams. Once it was determined the teams would face each other, they dialed down the competition.

“We both tried to take the high road,” he said.

There were no silly bets.

“The winner got a ring and a big parade,” Duffy said. “Fortunately, I was the winner of that and got simple bragging rights. Having to wear the winning team’s jersey or something like that would have just added insult to injury.”

Duffy got to ride in a bus in the Caps’ victory parade and had a front row seat at the rally.

“It was amazing to see the amount of people along the parade route and on the Mall — just a sea of red,” he said. “It was mind-blowing. After 40-plus years, the excitement could not be matched. It was great for hockey to see that level of interest.”

Duffy said his wife and daughters, ages 11, 9, 7 and 2, got to participate in the festivities. Prior to the parade, they were fortunate enough to meet the players and take photos with the Stanley Cup.

He said his girls are huge Capitals fans.

“I bring them to a lot of games and we’ve all experienced a lot of heartbreak during the playoffs in previous years,” he said. “When we beat the Penguins, there was a lot of jumping up and down in our living room.”

His oldest daughter had to decide between attending her fifth grade graduation at Brooke Grove Elementary School or attending the parade. It was a tough decision, but she opted to “Rock the Red” at the parade.

The playoffs presented additional work for Duffy because more games meant more opportunities for the partners.

The team held multiple special events during the series against Tampa Bay and Vegas, featuring concerts and viewing parties that filled Capital One Arena and nearby streets.

“It was a really great environment, not just inside the arena but outside, too,” Duffy said. “You wait years to get to that moment, so we worked with our partners to share in the success.”

Capital One temporarily changed its logo to reflect the Capitals logo, and Mars, which sponsors both the Caps and the Golden Knights, stirred up some fun on Twitter.

Duffy said that while the most successful season in the team’s history is over for the fans and players, his work continues year-round.

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