Over the group’s 47-year historical past, the Washington Capitals have a had quite a lot of notable gamers don the Purple, White, and Blue (or different jersey variants) and make a mark in a method or one other. One such participant is Mike Marson, who within the workforce’s inaugural season of 1974-75, made his mark in franchise historical past. On this Capitals Alumni Profile, NoVa Caps takes a glance again at his Capitals profession.
Marson was drafted by the Caps within the second-round of the 1974 NHL Newbie Draft with the nineteenth total choose, changing into the second-ever participant chosen by the brand new enlargement workforce from Washington, having left his house and household in Scarborough, Ontario at 17-years outdated to play for the Sudbury Wolves of the then-Ontario Hockey Affiliation, with whom he recorded 94 factors in his second season. The expectations for Marson’s NHL profession expanded when the Caps signed him to a five-year, $500,000 deal.
On the age of simply 19, Marson suited up for his first NHL recreation within the Capitals’ inaugural contest towards the New York Rangers, which they misplaced 6-3 in the beginning of what can be a dreadful 8-67-5 marketing campaign, changing into the primary black participant to swimsuit up for the workforce in franchise historical past and the second-ever in NHL historical past. Regardless of this, Marson performed in 76 video games, scoring 16 objectives (third-most on the membership) and recording 28 factors, which additionally ranked third on the workforce. Regardless of his early success, Marson was lauded for his skating capability as a younger participant on an enlargement membership, but additionally confronted difficulties in his first season as a black participant at a time when tensions in society have been nonetheless very a lot prevalent following the Civil Rights motion within the 1960’s. Marson commented on the difficulties he confronted to NHL.Com in 2019:
“It wasn’t simply that I used to be a 19-year-old child enjoying skilled hockey,” Marson stated. “I used to be the one child on the planet who was black and enjoying at the moment. And with the entire totally different social ramifications and setups that have been happening at the moment in America, it was fully unparalleled…It was a every day subject of issues that have been virtually thoughts blowing. There have been occasions after I was refused lodging in lodges and the workforce must stick up for me. Or getting into an area like say, Madison Sq. Backyard, and being questioned by safety employees as a result of there have been no black hockey gamers. So, to their credit score, they have been asking the precise questions, solely to seek out out that sure, I used to be enjoying for Washington. For me, this was a every day factor. You’d go to pre-board an airplane and also you’re questioned – ‘Properly sir, I’m sorry that is only for the hockey gamers.’ I handled this type of enterprise on a regular basis”.
Marson additionally acquired dying threats and scrutiny when visiting cities all through the US, however persevered by way of the turbulence to return for a second season in 1975-76, which was one other tough marketing campaign for the Capitals and for Marson, who completed the season with simply 11 factors (4 objectives, seven assists) in 57 Video games Performed, as he bounced between Washington and the American Hockey League, a pattern that may proceed for an additional three seasons with Washington, as he battled private points off the ice reminiscent of alcoholism and poor bodily situation. He would play simply 60 extra video games with the Caps, recording a meager 9 factors and a minus-3 score with 119 penalty minutes, shuffling between the minors and NHL, earlier than being traded on June 11, 1979 to the Los Angeles Kings in trade for Left Wing Steve Clippingdale, who performed simply three video games for Washington in 1979-80, recording no factors.
Marson would play simply three video games for L.A. in the course of the 1979-80 season, recording no factors whereas spending the vast majority of the marketing campaign with the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Dusters, with whom he recorded 15 factors in 58 Video games Performed. Following the season, on the age of 25, Marson retired from hockey, ending his NHL profession with 196 Video games Performed (193 in Washington), 24 objectives, and 48 factors, all recorded throughout his time with the Capitals. Following his hockey profession, Marson returned to the Toronto space, the place he studied martial arts and developed a martial arts coaching program for younger hockey gamers to achieve energy, and enhance focus and coordination, and in addition labored as a bus driver; former NHL ahead Rick Nash is one such participant who utilized the martial arts firm’s providers. He’s now a talented painter, and has shared his works on social media prior to now.
Michael Fleetwood was born right into a household of diehard Capitals followers and has been watching video games so long as he can keep in mind. He was born the 12 months the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Last, and is a diehard Caps fan, the proprietor of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favourite participant turned former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey lodge whereas in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured throughout a conditioning stint. Michael can be a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys images, watching WildEarth TV’s SafariLive dwell safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photograph by Adam Vingan in 2014 on the Capitals Improvement Camp).