Wednesday night at Rogers Place, Alex Ovechkin made national headlines for something other than scoring goals. During pregame warmups of the Oilers-Caps game, the Russian machine tossed his stick over the glass to a tiny Caps fan wearing an Ovechkin jersey.
We’ve since learned that the young boy’s name is Cash N., a youth hockey player who lives in Stony Plain, Alberta. Cash’s nickname from his teammates is Niebvechkin, a nod to his favorite player. According to an email from his mother Miranda, Ovi’s gesture to her son was one of the greatest moments of his life.
“The look on Cash’s face truly says it all,” she wrote.
Miranda, Cash’s mother, was kind enough to write about their family’s experience that night and share never before seen photos.
Alex Ovechkin is Cash’s favorite player because he’s such a talented goal scorer and is so funny. Cash loves to watch YouTube videos of Ovi during his free time – one of his favorites is Ovi’s Eastern Motors commercial. Cash also chose to wear #8 for his youth hockey team, the Stony Plain Predators, as a tribute.
This Friday is Cash’s 8th birthday so Cash’s father and I decided to buy him a new Ovechkin jersey. When dad realized that Washington was coming to Edmonton on Wednesday, we also splurged majorly on tickets along the glass so that Cash could watch his idol live and in-person. The tickets were in the second row on the Edmonton Oilers end. We were hoping our son could witness Ovi score a goal up close.
Wednesday morning, I received a text from Cash’s father saying that Washington was practicing at 11:30 am at Rogers Place and that we should pull our son from school for a chance to meet Ovi. As I teacher, I do not normally condone skipping school, but I knew that this was a chance of a lifetime for Cash.
Cash and his dad arrived at Rogers Place just as the practice was ending and received a tip that they were staying at a local hotel. They raced over there and waited for the bus to arrive.
When Ovi got off the bus, Cash yelled, “Ovi, come sign my jersey!” Ovi replied, “I will,” and followed his teammates into the hotel. Persistent and precocious Cash, waved over Barry Trotz, and introduced himself to him. He informed Barry that this was his birthday present and really wanted to meet Ovechkin. Barry told him that Ovi liked to have some time to himself before the game and asked if Cash had tickets to the game. When Cash told him that he already had tickets, Barry then offered up post-game passes to meet and greet some Caps after the game. It was so kind.
That night, I accompanied Cash to the game (we could only afford two tickets) and we made our way down for warmups. Cash was standing in the front row on the Caps end, banging on the glass with excitement. When Ovi would skate by, he hit the glass with his stick back at Cash.
About 10 minutes into warmups, Ovi skated over to his bench and got a stick from one of the trainers. Halfway across the ice, Ovi made eye-contact with Cash and pointed the stick in Cash’s direction while continuing to skate towards him. When he got to the glass, there was a crowd of people gathering in hopes of getting his stick, but Ovechkin said, “No, no” and waved his finger at the other fans and then pointed back at Cash. He tossed his stick over the glass and an Edmonton Oiler fan passed it over to Cash. The look on Cash’s face truly said it all: pure elation and disbelief that this had just happened! He now had a stick that belonged to Alex Ovechkin!
Everyone around Cash were cheering. They were so excited for him. “That’s SO awesome!” said one fan. “You are so lucky!” said another.
Later Sportsnet aired video of Ovechkin’s gesture and things got crazy. Our phones blew up with people calling and texting saying that they had just seen Cash on TV getting Ovechkin’s stick.
Then there was the social media. Ovechkin’s act went viral. The video got thousands upon thousands of views. We got so many positive comments, birthday wishes, and just general shoutouts to Ovi for making this little boy’s day! I was so thankful that this moment was caught on tape so I could see my little boy’s reaction. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of how this simple act made a memory that my child will never ever forget.
After the game was over, Cash waited with anticipation to meet Ovechkin in person. Sadly, he left the arena quickly after a 4-1 loss, but Cash was able to meet Braden Holtby, Brooks Orpik, and Jay Beagle. It wasn’t quite the same, but Cash was thankful for their time.
We are planning to add the Ovechkin stick to Cash’s growing collection of Ovechkin memorabilia. Someday we hope we can get it signed. For now, it will hang on his wall among his 3 jerseys.
In the end, it was such a memorable night. The only thing that didn’t end up perfect – Cash had to go to the bathroom during the third period and missed Ovi’s goal.
Miranda also sent over this video of Cash thanking Ovechkin. Cash can be seen wearing his new Ovechkin jersey and holding his new Ovechkin stick.
“I like you because you’re a really good hockey player, score a lot of goals, and you’re really funny,” Cash said in the adorable video. “Maybe one day I can meet you.”
Boy would that be cute.
The first picture Miranda sent over was Cash waving to Ovechkin and Ovechkin waving back as he got off the bus.
Cash then had his chat with Coach Trotz about his birthday and how he would love to meet Ovi.
Coach Trotz gave Cash a guest pass to come meet some players after the game.
Ovechkin making his way over to give his Bauer stick to Cash.
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