Born: September 17, 1985, Moscow, Russia | Successful For: NHL Player | Zodiac Sign: Virgo
Why Alexander Ovechkin Became 'The Great':
PASSION IS THE MAIN INGREDIENT, AND ALEX OVECHKIN HAS A BIG DOSE OF IT: Alexander Ovechkin has a very strong passion and love for the game. This was obvious at such a young age. Whenever he saw a hockey game on TV, at just 2 years old, he would drop all of his toys and run to the TV, protesting if his parents tried to change the channel. He was so energetic and enthusiastic; he would often take the stairs to his tenth floor apartment as a kid. His parents even claim that when he was in a Soviet toy store; he grabbed a toy hockey stick and refused to let it go. Ovechkin was clearly born to play the game of hockey! Even competing coach of the Buffalo Sabres, Lindy Ruff has commented about him saying “He plays with incredible passion." Today, as an elite player, he still believes in the same foundation, focusing on the desire and nothing else: “If you go to ice and you think, 'I must score' or 'I must get some points,' you won't score or get any points. You must go and play and don't think about it.”
OVECHKIN IS COMMITTED TO GROWTH AND HE KEEPS ADJUSTING ALONG THE WAY: "My weapon isn't my shot. It's me." His commitment to improve and adapt has always led Ovechkin to continue to rise and do what others thought would not be possible. Ovechkin came into the NHL at age 20 as a rookie and rose to stardom faster than light meets the eye as he recorded an unbelievable 106 points in 81 games. He improved his game and became a more all around player as he worked really hard on his defensive game. He came straight from Russia to the United States and as a landed immigrant, adapted fairly quick to the western ways (especially compared to his Russian counterparts), he learned English fluently, does interviews regularly, attends other sporting events in a fashionable way (throwing a pitch at a Nationals game), and is an overall great face for the NHL league. One of the first Russians to be extremely marketable in North American hockey. He is a posterboy on many ads and he has also launched his own line of designer street wear with CCM. Along with Sidney Crosby, the 2 of them helped popularize hockey in the States and have a massive competitive edge with one another; brands, teams, trophies. Ovechkin gives us a glimpse of his own personal goals stating “I want to be part of NHL history.”
ALEXANDER OVECHKIN EXUBERATES A POSITIVE SPIRIT: Ovechkin’s glass half full attitude is apparent everywhere he goes. His missing tooth smile is always displayed on and off the ice. Whether he's scoring flashy goals and celebrating wildly, singing rock songs with his own Russian band, or flirting with the female broadcasters, Alexander Ovechkin is always displaying his good nature while he puts together a masterpiece. On and off the ice, Ovechkin is one of the most upbeat and optimistic individuals who knows how to have fun and enjoy life, especially when he’s playing hockey. His raw talent and over bearing positive energy for the game assisted him to excel and maximize as one of the best in the NHL and it will most likely allow him to be one of the greatest scorers of all time (possibly THE greatest). Even ex team-mate Olaf Kolzig has rightfully said “Anything is possible with that kid.”
"I want to win the Stanley Cup. I want to be the best, just the best. I must work. I must learn. Help my team. Hockey is my life, you know. If I do not play hockey, I do not know what I do."
– Quote by Alexander Ovechkin
Early as a child, Ovechkin had to postpone his hockey career because his parents were unable to take him to the rink. But one of Ovechkin’s coaches saw his talent and communicated to his parents that he should continue to play hockey. Ovechkin’s brother, Sergei, (who later died in a car accident and was a huge inspiration for him), saw that Alexander loved hockey and insisted that he be allowed to return. Ovechkin resumed playing a few months later and never looked back. Fortunately he also did not have to serve in the military in Russia because he had studied at the Military Institute for Border Guards. Today, being compared to Mario Lemieux himself, Ovechkin has been awarded several trophies including the Rocket Richard and Art Ross just to name a few. And "Alexander the Great" was even given the key to the city by Washington mayor for being the first Washington MVP winner in a major sport since 1983.
"That's hockey. You never know what's going to happen. It's a tough sport. No tooth, a broken nose, but I'm looking good."
- Alexander Ovechkin
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