Alex Ovechkin got attention for a selfless act during the 2018 All-Star Skills Competition. Ovechkin took a tiny fan onto the ice — basically his miniature clone — during warmups and passed the puck back and forth with him as he got loose.
We learned later that the boy was named Jonas Smailys, a four-year-old youth hockey player, whose father, Sigi, was close friends with the Ovechkin family. Ovechkin played street hockey with Jonas when the family lived in DC, but the ASG experience, where Jonas joined other National Hockey League stars out on the ice like Sidney Crosby, was especially meaningful and motivating.
“I told him if we were going to be in the All-Star Game I would take him on the ice,” Ovechkin said to NHL.com. “It’s a lifetime experience. Let him go out first, just see the crowd. I look at him right now and he’s smiling all the time, so it’s pretty cool.”
Fast forward four years later, Ovechkin had a chance to meet up with Tiny Ovi again in Dallas – except this time Tiny Ovi is eight and, uh, not so tiny anymore.
The Smailys family first caught up with Ovechkin and the Capitals’ Russians at the team hotel. Sigi sent us several photos that we could share.
They were also guests of the team at practice.
Jonas, along with his little brother and dad, is attending tonight’s Caps-Stars game at American Airlines Center.
Since taking the ice with Ovechkin in Tampa Bay, Jonas has worked very hard at his craft and become one of the better youth hockey players in the nation.
Jonas plays AAA hockey now and his Dallas Stars elite team, coached by the Stars’ skills coach, is ranked fourth in the United States.
Last season while playing for the San Antonio Jr Rampage (10-U), Jonas played a year advanced and led the league in goals (67) and points (77).
Jonas naturally wears the number eight in honor of his hockey hero, Ovechkin.
So not only has Ovechkin inspired his tiny son, Sergei, to be a great hockey player, but the opportunities he’s given Jonas have been transformative as well.
Photos: Sigi Smailys