Stanley Cup now with ties to FolsomBy: Matt Long, Sports Editor
Washington Capitals star and future hockey Hall of Famer Alex Ovechkin recently achieved a lifelong dream of winning the Stanley Cup, as he led the Capitals to a 4-1 series victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.
Ovechkin and his teammates celebrated with what any hockey lover will tell you is the best trophy in sports, the Stanley Cup. Winners of the Cup get their names engraved in it; how cool is that?
The Capitals first Stanley Cup in the organization’s 43-year history has ties to Folsom. Jared Elenberger was born and raised in Folsom, attending St. John Notre Dame School, and playing various sports in town including youth football with the Jr. Bulldogs before moving on to Jesuit High School. Elenberger, 24, graduated from Jesuit in 2012 and then from Gonzaga University in 2016. He finished his Masters Degree in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University last year. This past hockey season, Elenberger interned with the Washington Capitals, as part of the coaching staff. While the internship was all encompassing, a large majority of Elenberger’s duties were assisting the coaching staff through the use of video analytics.
“I’d come to the office every day, and I was like part of the coaching staff,” Elenberger said. “I’d sit in on all the coaches meetings with the staff. I attended the big team meetings. I interacted with the players. It’s as good as it gets as far as internships go. I was treated as part of the coaching staff.”
Elenberger would sift through hours of video on the Capitals’ upcoming opponents and primarily broke down the teams’ power play and penalty kill. Through his video research, Ellenberger looked for and found tendencies of each team on the power play and penalty kill and broke it down for the coaches.
“I’d watch the film and break it down into categories,” Elenberger said. “I’d code what happens and it was like time stamping, and then when the coach needed to see something, he could go right to it.”
Elenberger said it was an interesting dynamic to be around the players, most of whom were around his age; yet to be working predominately with the coaching staff, who were older. Elenberger was treated as part of the coaching staff and was respected by the other coaches and players, alike.
To watch the team win the Stanley Cup, the first for the organization and the first for all but one player on the team, was surreal, said Elenberger.
“Watching so many people do it for the first time and watching the team do it together for the first time was cool,” Elenberger said. “It was so much bigger than myself experiencing it. This is a career achievement for the players and coaches; it’s huge. It’s the ultimate goal, and to be a part of it was amazing. To know that I did things to help the team win, it was a neat experience; pretty surreal. It was a dream come true. I think the Stanley Cup is the greatest trophy.”
Like the players, Elenberger got his picture taken with the trophy. While he didn’t get to spend an entire day with it like the players, he very much enjoyed his time with it.
“I got to drink out of it,” Elenberger said. “We had a party at then-head coach Barry Trotz’ house and the Cup was there and I got to hold it and look at it.”
Elenberger’s internship with the team ends this week. He now hopes to use the experience of this past season to land a full-time spot with the team.
“I’m waiting to see what happens with the coaching staff here in Washington; I’d love to have an opportunity within the organization,” Elenberger said. “If that doesn’t work out, I’m going to reach out to other teams. I like to stick with hockey since that is where my networking and contacts are. I’d like to be a video coach or possibly have an opportunity on the management side.”