Thom Loverro: With NHL locked out, got to have something to fill the open dates

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Sports,NHL,Capitals,Thom Loverro

OK, this NHL lockout is getting serious now. We are looking at a winter without fun on Fun Street.

Without the Washington Capitals, businesses around Verizon Center will feel the pinch. Bar and restaurant workers will tell you that Caps fans are the ones who put the cheer into the cash registers.

So with the season on the brink, maybe it is time to consider some other winter options to fill the open dates and bolster the Verizon Center area economy.

Here are some possibilities:

Roller derby » The contest once was a staple of 1960s television, when Joanie Weston ruled the track as queen of the San Francisco Bay Bombers, and has undergone a revival, including a league that plays at the D.C. Armory called the DC Rollergirls.

Move them to Verizon Center. Imagine the excitement of the painted ladies elbowing and jamming their way to victory. Go ahead, tell me hockey is more exciting. I dare you.

Indoor bicycle racing » I'm not talking some Tour de France phony competition. I'm talking six-day bicycle racing, which in the early 20th century was arguably America's most popular indoor sport. Imagine the beer sales for six-day bicycle racing.

You could recruit Lance Armstrong as the main attraction. You can probably find him on Rockville Pike with a sign these days, so he could use the gig. And he is probably well-versed on how to pace himself for a six-day bicycle race.

Indoor soccer » Actually, this may not be a good idea -- if the object is to draw crowds.

Indoor auto racing » This is a time-honored tradition at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall. Midget car racing (the cars, not the drivers) has been going on since 1965, and there's one scheduled for February 2013. So why not at Verizon Center? Heck, those gas-spewing monster truck events are held there.

"The high speed excitement and roaring sounds of engines racing around the track is an experience for the whole family. ... Once you check out midget racing at its best, you'll want to keep coming back for more," the promotion claims.

Team handball » Bingo! It's a little-known sport in America, but I watched it in person at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and came away convinced that if there was a way to market this game in America, it would take off.

It's fast-paced, hard-hitting and usually high scoring, with most teams compiling 20 to 30 goals in a contest. You've got two teams of seven players -- six outfielders and a goalkeeper -- passing the ball, trying to get it in the opposition's net. Defenders can hit players trying to score, and while there are penalties -- faults -- no one can foul out.

NBA » Look, I think this NBA thing may catch on. It may be time for Washington to get a franchise.

Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

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