It started last year when the Caps started winning. Fans started showing up in greater numbers, and a theme was rolled out -- "Rock the Red." Since then, Verizon Center has become one of the loudest, most crowded hockey venues in the NHL. It is, at times -- shoot, most of the time -- an eccentric mix of personaltities and practices.
You have "The Horn" and "The Voice." You have what might be the signature call of Caps Nation -- "Unleash the Fury" -- that generally comes in the late stages of the third period of home games. You have a new entry, the "It's all your fault" cheer, directed at the opposing goaltender in the midst of fishing pucks out of his net after a Caps score.
The whole thing is starting to resemble a college basketball atmosphere, where some arenas and fan groups make up some of the most intimidating places an opponent in any sport can play. A Caps game at Verizon Center is starting to take on some of the characteristics of, say, a Cameron Indoor Stadium, where the "Cameron Crazies" have raised intimidation of opponents to an art form. Or, for the sheer size -- 4,000 students in "Izzone" t-shirts ringing the lower bowl -- and volume, "The Izzone" at Breslin Center on the campus of my alma mater, Michigan State University. Or the "Rock, Chalk, Jay-hawk" chant at Allen Fieldhouse, home to the Kansas Jayhawks.
The legion of red-clad Caps fans packing Verizon Center needs a name, something to distinguish it from other hockey hotbeds, something to add to the intimidation factor, something opponents will have to look forward to (and dread).
Consider this your opportunity to weigh in on giving a name to our voice...