ARLINGTON, V.A. – Garnet Hathaway and Nic Dowd have nothing but good things to say about each other, their eyes lighting up as they discuss their strong dynamic. Over the last three years with the Washington Capitals, the linemates have become more reminiscent of brothers, something that has helped fuel their success both on and off the ice.
However, the first time the two met was a different story. Dowd was skating with the Canucks while Hathaway was with Calgary, and the two didn’t exactly hit it off.
“He pissed me off, he was annoying,” Dowd recalled, explaining that it was Hathaway’s playing style and role that made him rather unpleasant to play against.
Eventually, separate roads brought them both to Washington. Dowd came in on a one-year deal to help fill Jay Beagle’s void and ultimately earned a longer tenure. A year later, Hathaway joined the mix after spending the first part of his career with the Flames and inked a four-year deal with the Capitals.
The two officially met off the ice outside of a hotel close to MedStar Capitals Iceplex when they randomly ran into one another right before training camp. It was a quick exchange of “Hi”s, with Hathaway meeting Dowd, his wife Paige and their dog.
“Little did I know we would be playing together 95 percent of the time,” Hathaway remarked.
That small run-in would lead to over 1,000 minutes of ice time together — 1,141:31 minutes to be exact — and the start of a lifelong friendship.
“I played with him so much last year and the year before that. You come to spend a lot of time with each other organically when you’re playing and you’re sitting on the bench together and stuff like that. So we’ve become close friends,” Dowd said.
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That dynamic off the ice, of course, has led to a lot of chemistry on the ice as well. Both play an instrumental role for head coach Peter Laviolette, who has relied heavily on their line with Carl Hagelin in multiple situations. The combination is not only reliable in the defensive zone, but also works to generate physicality and pressure on the forecheck. Hathaway and Dowd have also proven to be instrumental on the penalty kill.
“They bring energy, they bring physicality, they bring really good play on the ice. And they allow us in their own way to win hockey games,” Laviolette explained. “It’s obviously different from [Evgeny] Kuznetsov or Alex Ovechkin and how that helps us. But I think you need both sides of that in order to be successful, and they provide that.”
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Hathaway explained that a lot of their success on the ice comes from transparency and honesty and that having a strong dynamic away from the rink helps with that.
“We’re always pretty constructive with each other, but we have a good enough relationship where, you know, it’s meant to help the other guy,” Hathaway explained. “And I think that’s how close a lot of the guys are in, you know, this group. it makes for no hard feelings but a lot of better chemistry on the ice.”
For Hathaway, though, the most valuable aspect of their friendship has been sharing the experience of fatherhood together. Dowd and his wife welcomed a son, Louie, in December 2019. Hathaway and his wife, Lindsay, welcomed their first child, a son, in May 2021.
“Watching Nic become a dad and him and Paige together with Lou and just an awesome family that I was lucky enough to see him kind of grow into it. I was there,” Hathaway recalled. “We were there a couple days after he was born in the hospital. And then my wife and I had our own son, and I’ve leaned on him a lot. He’s helped me learn a lot about what works, what doesn’t work. You know, how much hard work it takes to raise a child and have a family and he’s a great role model.”
BONUS: garny’s got himself a special visitor as well! pic.twitter.com/rNoSbXbDzk
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“Our families are close as well, and we had kids around the same time, so you’re going through some big life steps together. It’s good to have someone to talk to about that stuff,” Dowd added.
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As they continue their careers in Washington, Dowd and Hathaway are looking forward to continuing to make an impact both on and off the ice. Both have been active in the community, with the Dowds having formed “Dowd’s Crowd” in 2018 to help fans with sensory issues attend and enjoy Capitals games and Hathaway launching “Hath’s Heroes” to give back to first responders in 2019. Hathaway has one more year left on his deal, and Dowd recently signed a three-year extension that lasts through 2025.
“You can’t help but smile. Another three years, that’s huge,” Hathaway said of Dowd, adding, “He’s been unbelievable since I’ve seen him play… he comes to the rink the same way every day, trying to get better and just being a true professional.”
“He’s a really good teammate, a guy that stands up for his teammates and he plays hard. That’s why we like him… I think anybody would take him on their team around the league,” Dowd noted of Hathaway.