On January 23rd, Washington Capitals’ fan, Greg Christian, accomplished a goal he and his wife created back in November of 2013. Their plan was to see their beloved Caps play in all 36 NHL venues across North America. It was a six-year journey that took them across the U.S. and Canada. The final destination was Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, where they would watch the Caps play the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The only thing missing was Greg’s wife, Dona Coultice-Christian, who had passed away on November 23rd, 2018 after battling pancreatic cancer. The couple had visited 34 of the 36 arenas before Dona passed, the last two being St. Louis and Toronto.
But Greg made sure that Dona was with him on the final two stops. He took a picture of his late wife with him and placed it in her seat next to him during the game.
“I came to the realization that she would’ve wanted me to go, and so I went,” said Christian in a story published by The Washington Post. “I thought taking the picture of her was a way to have her along with me. We already had the tickets, so I actually put the poster of her in her seat.”
We made it!! Seeing the Caps play in the last of 36 venues (31 current arenas, 2 past arenas, 3 stadiums). @RobCarlinNBCS @arrdog1 @WaltonCaps @BenRaby31 @JoeBpXp @NBCSWashington @Capitals @russianmachine
The couple, after visiting 48 of 50 states, decided to establish a new goal they could accomplish together and so the idea of seeing the Caps play across North America was birthed.
Game Zero started the list with a trip to Heinz Field to see the Caps play the Penguins in the 2011 Winter Classic; but the first official game to make the list was when they headed to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit to see their team take on the Red Wings on November 15th, 2013. Over the course of the next four years, the list continued to grow and their goal was closer to fruition.
But then in April of 2017, the couple received heartbreaking news with Dona being diagnosed with cancer. While devastating, the dedicated two-person team refused to alter their plans. Instead, they put their foot on the gas and sped up their trip schedule.
Last season Greg and Dona visited eleven venues. Then, after their story was highlighted by the Joe Beninati of NBC Sports Washington, the Caps got involved and arranged a face-to-face meeting for the couple with team’s right winger, Devante Smith-Pelly.
Greg Christian and Dona Coultice-Christian getting the Joe B. shoutout!
Sadly, shortly after the 2018-2019 season began, Dona passed away, two venues short of their goal.
Pancreatic cancer claimed my linemate yesterday. Thanks, @smithpelly23, for giving one of your biggest fans a special memory. #HockeyFightsCancer @WaltonCaps @JenksNBCS @JoeBpXp @RobCarlinNBCS @Tarik_ElBashir
But Greg refused to not honor his late wife, so with his Dona’s picture in hand, he visited the final two arenas in St. Louis and Toronto.
“We made it!!” exclaimed Christian in his Tweet.
Yes, Greg, you both did.
And that’s something that can never be taken away from the two of you.