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From Class to Caps

Terp Teacher Is In-Game Hockey Host

By Karen Shih ’09

Hockey

Whether she’s pumping up 18,000 fans at the Verizon Center or teaching 24 fifth-graders how to spell, Erin Magee ’13 throws her infectious excitement into everything she does.

“I have a ton of energy,” she says. Some people can’t “get in front of a crowd and talk to people, but to me, luckily, that comes naturally.”

She’s in her second season as the Washington Capitals hockey team’s in-game host, earning her spot by an online fan vote last year. Throughout intermissions or time-outs, she’s the friendly face on the big screen, tossing out t-shirts and leading contestants through trivia to win Caps gear, signed pucks and more.

With 42 home games each year, she has some long days ahead: On game day, she might be at school from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., then at the arena from 5 to 10 p.m.—and that’s if the game doesn’t go into overtime.

“It can be stressful to manage everything, but it’s also a nice escape,” Magee says. “I love going and being able to make the fans feel welcome and hang out with all of them.”

She’s been going to Caps games for years with her dad, a big fan. He encouraged her to try out for the team’s Red Rockers dance squad during college (she was a cheerleader in high school), which helped get her foot in the door.

Magee with Slapshot

Her day and night jobs have a lot in common, Magee says. “You have to be on your game and be happy and make it look appealing even when you’re not having the best time,” she says. “At school, you sometimes have bad days but that doesn’t mean I can be a bad teacher. Same with the Caps—if we’re having a bad game, I can’t just sit there and complain. It makes me really self-aware.”

She decided to study education after working at a preschool right out of high school. “I always knew I liked working with kids, but the structured setting of preschool made me realize I might want to do this as a career,” she says.

Her fifth graders at Laytonsville Elementary School in Montgomery County all know about her Caps gig: They help her clean up on days she needs to leave quickly, some follow her on Instagram, and parents email her when they’ll be at games, so she can stop by and say hi.

“It’s a nice check-in for the kids,” she says. “I remember growing up not thinking teachers left school, thinking they lived there.”

Over the summer, she kept up her skills by hosting for the Washington Kastles, D.C.’s World TeamTennis franchise. Now she’s looking forward to the National Hockey League’s annual outdoor game, the Winter Classic, coming to D.C. on New Year’s Day, though she doesn’t know yet if she’ll be hosting that.

“As long as Caps fans want me [hosting], I want to continue,” she says. “I love it.”

 

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Strategic Communications for the University of Maryland community weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.