On any other night, Alex Ovechkin would have been the star of the show for scoring a hat trick during the Capitals’ game against the Maple Leafs on Saturday. But another Alex stole the spotlight from the famed goalscorer: 13-year-old cancer survivor Alex Luey.
The youth hockey player from Niagra Falls, Ontario was diagnosed with osteosarcoma as a child, causing his right leg to be amputated. Now cancer-free and equipped with a prosthetic, he has been able to return to the ice to enjoy his favorite sport. Part of his return to the ice included a visit to Air Canada Centre as Ovechkin’s guest on Saturday night, where Luey won over the hearts of both the fans and the players, who named him player of the game and gave him a standing ovation in the locker room.
Along with the special treatment from the Caps and a heartwarming message from Nationals player Bryce Harper, Luey found himself in the spotlight once again today with an appearance on NHL Network to talk about the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What a night with the @Capitals for 13-year old Alex Luey!
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) November 28, 2017
In the uplifting interview, Luey confirmed that Ovechkin did indeed promise to score him a goal and win the game against the Leafs. Luey also talked about how the Great 8 became his favorite player, remembering how at three or four years old, he was watching SportsCenter with his dad when he saw Alex Ovechkin’s name on his TV screen.
He said “It said ‘Alex Ovechkin,’ and at three or four I’m like, ‘Well his name’s Alex, and my name’s Alex.’ So…” Luey obviously made a great choice as a kid, and it thoroughly paid off on Saturday night.
You can read the full transcript of the smile-inducing interview below.
Tell us about the weekend. How much fun was that for you?
Alex Luey: It was really fun. I saw Ovechkin become… and that I could go see him in Toronto, that was pretty cool.
How about the idea that you’re in the dressing room, you’re reading the line up… I mean you were everywhere with this, this is something that had to be way above and beyond what you even thought it might be.
Alex Luey: Yeah it was so fun because Dee, and Christine, and Chris Simpson were helping me through it, telling me what’s gonna happen. I got to go on the bench for warmups, and then they wanted me to announce the starting lineup, so I did that.
Very cool. You said that you were on the bench for warmups. Now rumor has it, legend has it, Alex, that Ovi told you he was going to score a goal for you in the game. Of course he went and scored three. Is that true? Did he promise you a goal?
Alex Luey: Yeah, it wasn’t on the bench but right before they went out for the game he was like “I’m going to score for you” and then he was like “and we’re going to win the game.” And I was like “okay,” and then he did. He scored three.
We saw your reaction in the crowd when this happened, and you looked overcome with emotion. Was that the best hockey game you’ve ever been to?
Alex Luey: Yeah, it was one of the best, for the beginning and the end.
How about getting to meet Alex [Ovechkin], and this relationship you’ve developed with him. It has to be something that’s really special in your life.
Alex Luey: It was pretty cool because I got the selfie with him, and I took a couple pictures. I got him to point to my family and they all said hi and he waved to them.
Alex [Ovechkin] is a very charismatic guy, but even before this weekend, Alex Ovechkin was one of your favorite players. What about Alex [Ovechkin] the player made him so popular for you?
Alex Luey: Well it wasn’t exactly his playing style, because I was three or four and I decided that I would… I dunno. I was watching SportsCenter, me and my dad, and his name came up in an interview. It said “Alex Ovechkin,” and at three or four I’m like, “Well his name’s Alex, and my name’s Alex.” So…
You felt a connection, right?
Alex Luey: Yeah. [Smiles.]
Well listen Alex, congratulations on a fantastic weekend. Now you’ve just got to get Ovi to take you to a playoff game next. That should be your next goal.
Alex Luey: Yeah. [Laughs]
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