Alex Ovechkin cried after the birth of his son Sergei. ‘You don’t think you’re not gonna do it, but it just goes automatic.’
Springfield, VA — As I made small talk with two local reporters and RMNB staff member Cara Bahniuk in a sprawling lockerroom at The St. James — a new 450,000-square-foot sports and active entertainment facility in Northern Virginia which features two hockey rinks — a smell of fresh paint filled the room. Minutes later, after playing hockey with two youth teams, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin poked his head inside to see who would grill him. His presence electrified the stuffy room.
“RMNB here!” Ovechkin, a founding member of the complex, said with his trademark gap-toothed smile. His eyes then darted down to a championship bucket I brought him as a gift before he ducked his way back into the adjoining room for media interviews.
That afternoon, sick as a dog, I had driven 90 minutes from Frederick, Maryland, believing I’d be one of a dozen reporters there and just hoped to ask one question in a scrum. Instead, I’d get my first one-on-one ever with the guy who inspired the name of our blog nine years prior. The chat ended up being two thirty-somethings, one year apart in age, talking about becoming fathers for the first time. And oh yeah, the Stanley Cup.