Photo: Tyler Lapeyre
Before the Washington Capitals played the Vancouver Canucks last October, Alex Ovechkin noticed a girl standing along the boards during warm-ups. The sign she held read, “All I want 4 my 16th birthday is a puck, Ovi.” The Russian machine obliged and tossed a puck over the glass. The moment was expertly photographed by Jonathan Hayward.
We wrote about the photo. The story went viral. It was even on Buzzfeed.
“The whole thing was pretty surreal,” Tyler Lapeyre, the Vancouver girl who caught the puck, explained to me in an interview on Sunday night. “Then to see the picture show up all over Facebook and Tumblr really made the moment more special. It was like the world realized how awesome the moment was for me!”
That tiny gesture wasn’t the only kind thing Ovechkin did for the young Canadian Caps fan.
Lapeyre tagged Ovechkin in the photo hoping, but not really believing, that he’d see it.
After a bunch of likes from her friends that day, she went to sleep. The next morning there was a special surprising waiting for her.
“I was just being lazy watching TV on Friday morning,” she said. “I figured I should see who liked the photo so and I went into Instagram, scrolled through the ‘likers’, and I saw ‘a0gr8.'”
Lapeyre freaked out for a second time as a result of the three-time MVP.
“I immediately texted my cousin to video chat with me via Skype and the first thing in the morning I showed my dad along with my grandparents,” she said. “I was in a bit of shock when I looked and it didn’t really register with me until I started showing people and seeing how excited they got about it.”
The jet-lagged Ovechkin, who rarely favorites or responds to Tweets or Instagram comments, liked the photo around 4am in Washington, which was 1am Vancouver time for Lapeyre.
Somehow, Ovi made what Lapeyre considered “the greatest moment of her life” even more special.
“I’m just a Caps fan in hostile territory,” she explained. “The whole thing made Canucks fans look at Ovi differently. He’s not only an extremely talented player, he’s also a great guy as well.”
Photo credit: Jonathan Hayward
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