By Cara Bahniuk
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin held a Russian language press conference on Thursday ahead of his annual youth hockey tournament, the Alexander Ovechkin Cup, in Moscow.
Ovechkin addressed several topics including the end of his 13-year contract with the Capitals in 2021 and his thoughts on Artemi Panarin’s criticism of Vladimir Putin. Ovechkin also spoke about hockey in Russia and his son, Sergei.
Ovi was asked if his son will follow in his footsteps and play hockey. The Russian machine said Sergei will be put in skates when he starts walking, but it’s up to him whether he continues with the sport.
The quotes are from an interview transcript published by sport24.ru and translated by RMNB’s Igor Kleyner.
“I don’t think he has an alternative!” Ovechkin said laughing, when asked if he would play the same sport as his dad. “But, really, when he starts walking, I will bring him to the rink. If he likes it, we’ll work on it. But we will not make him.”
Sergei will turn one-years-old on August 18. Ovechkin was two years old when he first picked up a hockey stick. Ovechkin’s parents Tatyana and Mikhail bought their son his first hockey kit (plastic helmet, stick, and puck) at a Russian children’s toy store.
Growing up, Valery Kamensky was Ovechkin’s idol. “Among the older guys, I also liked Alexander Maltsev, Sergei Fedorov,” Ovechkin said. “When you get to play against such stars, you realize what you have achieved. And I even got to play together on the same team with Fedorov, my dream came true!”
Ovechkin credited local hockey tournaments, like the tournament named after him, for helping him become the best athlete he could be.
“When I was a kid, I dreamed of making it to Tretiak Cup,” Ovechkin said. “There was a real fight to get the invitation. I think such tournaments are helpful.”
“We need more youth hockey leagues,” Ovechkin continued. “In Canada and the US, there are so many different kids tournaments, you cannot count them all. Also, they have a lot of opportunities to participate in different sports. It’s good that we now have some development, but it would be nice to have more rinks. You cannot develop players without ice.”
Ovechkin finished off by talking about his upcoming trip to China to serve as an NHL Ambassador. While in China, he will host practice sessions and masterclasses, while representing both the NHL and KHL.
“Everybody knows how many Chinese there are in the world, maybe they’ll have the next Wayne Gretzky,” he said.
Headline photo: @nastyashubskaya
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.