Alex Luey passed away in his sleep Sunday morning after a three-year battle with cancer. “Alex battled bravely and touched many lives during his life,” his dad, Scott, wrote on Twitter.
Capitals fans first learned of the youth hockey player for the Niagara Falls Flyers two years ago. Alex Ovechkin surprised Luey with tickets to an upcoming Capitals-Leafs game after finding out he was his favorite player. The gesture left Luey in tears.
Now, Ovechkin and many in the Capitals family are shedding some themselves after losing such a good friend.
Early this morning our son Alex’s 3-year battle with cancer ended when he passed away in his sleep at the hospital. Alex battled bravely and touched many lives during his life. I won’t be on social media over the holidays but I will post funeral arrangements shortly. #LUEYstrong pic.twitter.com/KQqkoKqqNb
— Scott Luey (@cao4poco) December 22, 2019
A “heartbroken” Ovechkin called Luey “a great kid” who “inspire me and our team with his strength.”
Our Caps family heartbroken…so sad to hear Alex Luey pass away today. Such a great kid. He inspire me and our team with his strength. My family will pray for him and his mom and dad. Love you bro. I will miss seeing you in Toronto. Rest In Peace. ❤️ #LueyStrong pic.twitter.com/Plb7CXUsEs
— Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) December 22, 2019
Tom Wilson said Luey was “one of the kindest and bravest kids I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting over the years.”
— Tom Wilson (@tom_wilso) December 22, 2019
Luey’s battle with cancer first started in 2016 after he experienced a weird feeling after playing hockey.
“He complained about a sore leg,” Alex’s mom, Cat Luey, said. “He had just gone back to hockey through the summer. Like intense dryland training and that. I said ‘Oh you pulled a muscle.’ I put muscle cream on it and we gave it some time. He continued to complain about it. And then he begged to go in a hockey tournament because his team was playing in the first tournament. So we agreed. He said it felt better and that he was okay. He went to school on Monday and fell at recess. Couldn’t get back up.”
After going to the doctor, Alex learned that he had osteosarcoma in his leg, a type of cancer that lives inside the bone. The family was given three options: full amputation, limb salvage surgery (where the bone is replaced by artificial bone), and rotationplasty. Doctors explained to Alex that with rotationplasty, he would lose part of his leg, but his ankle would function as a knee, giving him much more agility and movement. It would give him the ability to get back on the ice and play hockey. So Alex chose that.
“When I came home from my big surgery, the street was lined with all sorts of people. Friends, neighbors, the hockey team, firetrucks, and firemen,” Alex said. “All sorts of stuff like that and it was pretty cool.”
After undergoing chemotherapy, Alex was eventually declared cancer-free in May 2017.
Once Ovechkin learned of Luey’s fight, he surprised him on HNIC’s “Hometown Heroes” with tickets to the Capitals-Leafs game.
— Hometown Hockey (@hometownhockey_) October 9, 2017
On November 25, 2017, the 13-year-old Luey attended the Leafs-Caps game in Toronto wearing a number 8 Capitals jersey with Luey stitched on the back. The youngster announced the starting lineup inside the locker room and hung out on the Caps bench during warmups.
Ovechkin then made Luey a special promise.
What did I tell you before the game?” Ovechkin asked.
“You were going to score for me and win the game,” Luey responded.
— NHL (@NHL) November 26, 2017
Afterward, Ovechkin gave Luey his gloves, stick, and helmet from the game – all signed. He also gave him the HNIC towel.
“He was our best player out there,” Ovechkin said.
“It was a great feeling because he’s my idol,” Luey said. “He scored a hat trick for me and they won the game for me. I went on the bench for the warmups and I went to the pregame speech. It was so fun. It was so awesome.”
The Capitals gave Luey a standing ovation inside the locker room.
Ovechkin stayed in touch with Luey and even invited the kid to the Washington Capitals championship parade after the team won the Stanley Cup.
Luey would continue coming to games when the Capitals played the Leafs.
— Scott Luey (@cao4poco) January 23, 2019
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) February 22, 2019
But, sadly, in November 2018, Luey’s cancer returned.
Usually my tweets are work related but from time to time I post about my family. I was struggling with how to share this news about my son, Alex, on social media when this thoughtful message came along to help me out.
Thanks for the kind words @SNChrisSimpson #lueystrong https://t.co/WON2w2ahT3
— Scott Luey (@cao4poco) November 17, 2018
A year later, Luey, who was relegated to a wheelchair, would go to his final Capitals game on October 29. Ovechkin scored twice in the game. “If I score here, it’s only for him.”
After the game, the Capitals gave Alex the team’s hard hat award and took a team photo with him.
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Washington Capitals (@capitals) on
In late November, Ovechkin revealed that he was fighting for Luey during Hockey Fights Cancer month.
— Scott Luey (@cao4poco) November 22, 2019
Sunday, three days before Christmas, Luey’s battle with cancer tragically ended.
From everyone at RMNB, we extend our condolences to the Luey family. He was an inspirational kid and we will never forget him.. RIP.
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.