In the dead tree edition of The Washington Post today, there was an advertising supplement called Russia Beyond the Headlines which contained an article about the Russian hockey pipeline. Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was featured in a small section of it. And there was a special story in there about Ovechkin’s shot as a child, which was new to me.
In the beginning of the 1990s, future Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin started playing hockey in southeast Moscow.
“He was very diligent as a child,” says Ovechkin’s first coach, Ramil Valiullin, who worked with him between 1994 and 1998. “Even when he had a fever he would want to go to the hockey club, a real devotee. His mother would call me and ask me to talk him out of it. Only when I called he would calm down.”
Valiullin remembers Ovechkin’s zeal for the game on one day in particular. “Once, in a friendly match, Alexander shot the puck so hard, that when it hit the crossbar it broke in half. I still have those two halves,” Valiullin says. “The school had very little money back then. The parents paid for the equipment and the travels.”
Does Ramil Valiullin have Twitter? He needs to show the world his memento.
I believe Valiullin’s story because when Ovechkin scored his 50th goal during the 2013-14 season he did something similar. The puck dented when it hit the crossbar.
Check out Ovechkin’s Instagram photo.
Russia Beyond the Headlines also mentions that at at the age of 12, Ovechkin beat Pavel Bure’s Russian record, scoring 59 goals in the Moscow Championships.
Thanks to Anne W. who just sent us the story.
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