Adam Lindner | Sports Editor
As most Pittsburghers may prefer to forget, the NHL’s Washington Capitals captured their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history this past summer, topping the Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinals in the process. The championship-starved city of D.C. celebrated the victory enthusiastically in the weeks following the Caps’ decisive Game 5 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in the Cup Final, including star player Alex Ovechkin.
But the franchise’s star players and fans weren’t the only ones celebrating the team’s triumph.
Compliments of Capitals owner and Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis, every full-time employee who worked for Monumental on June 7 — the day that the team clinched the Cup title — received Stanley Cup rings, as well.
Of those, five are Duquesne graduates.
Mary Clamp, a 2015 DU graduate, said that receiving the ring is somewhat surreal, and definitely something that her family will treasure for generations to come.
“To have a ring is pretty awesome, and a little unbelievable,” Clamp said via telephone. “I never thought I’d be graced with the opportunity to have one.”
Originally from New Jersey, Clamp had a familial connection to Duquesne from birth as her mother, also named Mary, graduated from Duquesne’s pharmacy program. As a child, Clamp visited her mother’s alma mater and “fell in love.” She explained that her family’s history with the school factored into her decision when it was time to make her own college choice.
“Being a legacy is great because my mom and I can love Duquesne together, wear our class rings together, and stuff like that,” Clamp said.
However, where her mother went the pharmaceutical route, Clamp graduated from Duquesne in 2015 with degrees in finance and sports marketing. Clamp said that her time on the Bluff did more than enough to prepare her for her life and career post-school.
Upon arriving at DU, Clamp founded the now-defunct Figure Skating Club, as she was a competitive skater growing up. With the goal of eventually working in sports — “specifically hockey” — Clamp also interned with both the Penguins and Steelers during her time in Pittsburgh. According to Clamp, those experiences helped her realize that that’s what she wanted to do.
After school, Clamp began working with Monumental Sports & Entertainment — the company Leonsis is the founder, majority owner, chairman and CEO of — in sales, doing work for both the Caps and the NBA’s Washington Wizards, which Leonsis and Monumental also own.
Clamp eventually became a clerk with the Capitals before beginning as a staff accountant with the team, which she currently works as now.
Clamp credits fellow DU graduate, Zachary Gezo (2011), with helping her land at Monumental, which she describes as wonderful.
“The work environment is great,” Clamp said. “I really do have an awesome boss and coworkers.”
Among those coworkers are fellow Duquesne supporters, some of which Clamp knew during her time on the Bluff.
“Since it’s such a small school, it nice to have familiar faces,” Clamp said. “We try to meet for lunch sometimes; we have a lot of pride since we enjoyed our time and made a lot of memories there.
“There’s a really nice camaraderie because of Duquesne being such a small school — it’s like a small family.”
A small family, perhaps.
But, thanks to Leonsis, it’s a small family — with some pretty big rings.