It’s not every day religious beliefs are openly expressed in hockey locker rooms, but Pope Francis’ historic two-day visit to Washington may change that, at least for the next day or two.
With the leader of the Catholic church scheduled to make stops at the White House, the Basilica of the National Shrine, the Capitol and St. Patrick’s Catholic church, Capitals defenseman John Carlson said he’s anxious to hear what the pontiff has to say.
“It’s something I’ve never been around for; it’s cool to see,” said Carlson, a Catholic who was born in Marlborough, Mass., but moved to Colonia, N.J. as a child and attended St. Joseph in Metuchen, N.J. as a high school freshman.
“I think he’s awesome. I think his ideals are definitely a change of pace and I like what he does.”
Back in August, Carlson posted a Walk With Francis video on his Twitter account, pledging to “work on my faith and be a better father every day.”
With the Capitals in the midst of training camp and the team playing in Montreal on Thursday night, Carlson said he’s not sure if he’ll be able to attend any of today’s papal festivities, but he’s interested to hear Pope Francis’ message in his first American visit.
“I think he’s ahead of the curve and I think that’s what’s kind of held people back,” Carlson said. “So I think it’s great to see someone like that, who kind of puts to bed a lot of things that maybe shouldn’t be there.”
Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie said he’s also excited to see the buzz surrounding the pope’s visit to D.C.
“I think it’s very cool,” Oshie said. “It’s great for a lot of people to see him. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the streets should be pretty busy.”