While his love for hockey began as a toddler it was Alexander Ovechkin’s love of his brother that nurtured his dream. When looking at Ovi’s hockey gloves he used during the 2014-15 season, it’s hard not to notice the name of Sergei Ovechkin embroidered on the gloves. That is what inspired this article from one Ovi fan. [Translated from Russian]
When Ovi was two years old, he became fascinated with ice hockey gear. He begged for it and once even refused to leave a sporting goods store until his mother bought him some gear. All through his childhood young Ovi begged to play hockey but his mother, an Olympic basketball player for the USSR and his father a professional soccer player, refused. Like many parents, they were afraid that Ovi would be hurt playing such a highly competitive and physical game like hockey.
There was however, one member of the Ovechkin family who believed in Ovi’s dream and helped to nurture his passion for hockey, his brother Sergei. Sergei began advocating for Ovi and finally, worn down, their parents relented and Ovi attended his first hockey school. Sergei fueled Ovi’s love for hockey, took him to his first hockey school and to many practices. He delighted in Ovi’s joy on the ice but the practices were frequent and the busy Ovechkin family was unable to sustain the demands of young Ovi’s practices alongside their busy careers. With his attendance at practice dwindling, it took an intervention from his coach – Vyacheslav Kirillov – to convince the Ovechkin’s that even at eight years old, their son was an incredibly talented player. With this information, the Ovechkin family began to prioritize the practices so that Ovi could increase his hockey skill and acumen.
In 1995, Sergei was tragically killed in a traffic accident. Ovi was traumatized by the death of his brother. In fact, one of Ovi’s childhood friends claims that the accident is why Ovi is so passionate on the ice. It is said, that Ovi’s motivation is bringing honor to his brother’s memory through his hockey achievements. After Sergei’s death, Ovi played four seasons for the HC Dynamo Moscow one of the top three teams of the Soviet era hockey leagues and the Russian Olympic team before becoming an international hockey superstar and Russian national hero in the NHL.
Twenty years after Sergei’s death, Ovi memorialized Sergei’s memory by having his gloves embrodered with Sergei’s name for the 2015 season. This grand gesture is a truly a touching tribute to the brother whom Ovi idolized and who helped him to realize his dreams of hockey greatness.
By Marina McDowell
Translated by Stephanie Judge
The information was partially derived from this article