I've always said fans have more power than they realize.
Take for example the changes that happened with the Washington Football Team. Everything was a mess, fans stopped showing up, made their voices heard, and finally, big changes were made.
The same influence can be said for Capitals fans and the hiring of new head coach Peter Laviolette. He was paying attention to how you supported this team over the years, and it was a big difference-maker in his decision to come to Washington.
"There were a lot of reasons for me," Laviolette said when asked on the Capitals Talk Podcast why he chose Washington. "Their organization has been a real strong organization for many years now. Coaching all my years in the Eastern Conference, going into Washington so much, just the building and the fanbase, and how loud it can be in there, I'm really excited to be a part of that."
Yes, coaching Alex Ovechkin is a plus. Yes, a team just two years removed from winning a Stanley Cup is also pretty attractive to a top head coaching candidate.
You know what else is though? Fans that care. Fans that show up every game and support the team you plan on working for.
Remember years ago when Kevin Durant said how much he hated being cheered by Wizards fans because he felt like the fans weren't supporting their own team? Coaches and players want to come to a supportive work environment just like you or I would.
If you interview for a new job, and you walk into the office of this potential new employer, don't you peek around and try to see what the atmosphere is like? Sure, you're not going to have people running around cheering and playing ping pong (unless it's some start-up tech company maybe), but you're likely trying to gauge what it would be like going in there every day. Or maybe now it's how people are on Zoom calls. The world is weird at the moment but you get the analogy.
Do people look depressed? Is there any energy in the office? Is your possible new boss someone who seems supportive? Players and coaches are looking for similar things from fanbases when making decisions about their own careers too.
You, the fan, have the power to shape an organization, and influence decisions others make who might want to be a part of it. It may not be like the power a GM like Brian MacLellan has, and it may not be the power Ovi has, but you still move the needle with your actions.
Whether it's not showing up to make the point that you want real change, or it is showing up and making sure the rest of the league knows how great the culture is with your favorite team, it does get noticed and it does lead to results.
Capitals fans, you may not have known it at the time, but Peter Laviolette was watching, and he was impressed.