On Saturday night in Calgary, Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin showed once again why he is a favorite among children who are hockey fans, first by giving one of his own hockey sticks to a boy in a wheelchair who was visiting the Capitals’ locker room, and then tossing another one of his sticks over the glass to a young boy wearing a Capitals jersey who was attending the game with his parents.
Here’s the scene as the Capitals greeted the boy in the locker room as they filed out onto the ice and Ovechkin surprised him with his stick:
And here’s the delirious joy on the face of the boy who received the stick over the glass:
Ovechkin has demonstrated his charm with kids before; here’s a scene from Edmonton in 2016 when he bequeathed a boy with a Capitals jersey his stick:
Ovechkin has already reached legendary status in the NHL; in the 2005-2006 season he won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year as he placed third in the league in scoring, with 52 goals and 54 assists. Ovechkin has led the NHL in goal scoring seven times, matching the all-time record held by Hall of Famer Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks. The first year he led the league in goal scoring was 2007-08, when he won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the best player given by the NHL Players’ Association.
Ovechkin won the Hart Memorial Trophy twice more, in 2009 and 2013. He won his first Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018, bringing home the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.
At the 2018 NHL All-Star game skills competition, at the age of 33, Ovechkin won the hardest shot competition; he hit 98.8 mph first attempt, then was the only player to surpass 100 mph with his second shot. Other players have voiced their awe at Ovechkin’s shot; teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov said in 2015, “But I tell you, when you get on the ice with him and you see his shot for the first time, it’s crazy. It’s so, so hard. When I shoot, I can see my puck. When he shoots … Oh, come on. Where’s the puck?”
Jonathan Quick, goalie for the Los Angeles Kings, said, “Guys like Ovi shoot it so hard that it’s almost like you’re a batter in baseball. You see the blur of the puck coming at you in frames.”
Ovechkin, who hails from Russia and is a favorite of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has received a great deal of criticism for his support of Putin. In November 2017, he created a social movement called PutinTeam, writing, “Today, I want to announce a social movement in the name of PutinTeam. Be a part of this team — to me it’s a privilege, it’s like the feeling of when you put on the jersey of the Russian team, knowing that the whole country is rooting for you.” Ovechkin had said, “I’m not a politic. I don’t know what’s happening out there. I know it’s a hard situation, but it is what it is. You know, I play here, and this is my second home. I don’t want to fight between two countries, because it’s going to be a mess.” Asked about PutinTeam, he responded, “If somebody ask me to do something for my country, I will. If there’s a world championship, I go. So it’s that kind of a situation.”