Ovechkin hosts seventh American Special Hockey Association clinic
Washington Capitals captain, Alexander Ovechkin, in partnership with the American Special Hockey Association, recently hosted approximately 50 skaters with developmental disabilities.
Feature photo: X: @Capitals
Though Alexander Ovechkin has been busy chasing NHL goal-scoring records as a veteran forward with the Washington Capitals, the captain has always made time for the Washington community.
Earlier this week, the Russian star affectionately known as Ovi hosted roughly 50 participants from the American Special Hockey Association at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.
The clinic extended a longstanding tradition as the seventh occasion that No. 8 has hosted a hockey event for the group since becoming an ASHA ambassador in 2014.
“It’s always nice to see smiles on the faces,” Ovechkin said when asked about running the event.
“I think the kids remember that and they enjoy it, and the parents, everybody appreciates it, and it’s fun. … I think the community is growing up so fast hockey-wise and I think it’s important for us to give fans and kids and people a smile and a memory.”
Although not being able to fully participate in the on-ice portion due to a lower-body injury, Ovechkin was still present on the bench to interact and meet the kids in attendance. Other Capitals players, including Alex Alexeyev, Aliaksei Protas and Matthew Phillips joined on ice to help run various drills for the youth.
Ovechkin was quick to interact with some new and familiar faces, but a reunion with one friend from the past highlighted the event.
Ann Schaub, a longtime Ovechkin fan with Down syndrome, became famously known for asking the star out on a sushi date during one of the very first clinics ever held.
That wish came true for Schaub on Oct. 5, 2014.
“I thought it was a good idea and decided to take her up on it. It was great to see a smile on her face. She is a terrific and funny kid,” Ovechkin said of the moment.
(Photo via Sportsnet.ca)
Now 19, and still an avid attendee of the event, the two happily reconnected through what was also the first clinic since the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to being an ASHA Ambassador since 2014, Ovechkin also created Ovi’s Crazy 8s – a program which has seen No. 8 donate more than 5,000 tickets to underserved children in the community since 2016.
When Ovechkin initially partnered with ASHA, the organization had around 45 teams across 30 cities. They now have over 125 across the country. A recent donation by the star helped cover the ice costs for nearly 136 different teams across the country, helping nearly 8,300 players and coaches, according to the Capitals.
More recently, Ovechkin has also been donating these tickets to ASHA and their four local teams: Baltimore Saints, Montgomery Cheetahs, NOVA Cool Cats and the Washington Ice Dogs.