Alex Ovechkin’s Childhood Path To The Game Of Hockey

Photos: Chamionat

At age 8, Alex Ovechkin had not yet even skated, but two years later, he dominated on the ice. The Russian media outlet Championat recently published an article that traced the beginning of Alex Ovechkin’s start in hockey, all the way back to the age of 2. The article includes interviews with Ovechkin’s parents, as they recall how it all got started for the Great 8. While Ovechkin’s parents were supportive of Alex’s desire to play hockey, it was Alex’s internal drive and passion for the game, and a dedicated coach in Vyacheslav Kirillov, that ultimately made him the hockey player he is today.

Alexander Ovechkin was born in Moscow on September 17, 1985 in a sports family. The mother of the future hockey player Tatyana Ovechkina (Kabaeva as a girl) is a famous Soviet basketball player, two-time Olympic champion, winner of the World and European Championships, Honored Master of Sports of the USSR and Honored Trainer of Russia.

Mikhail Ovechkin, Alexander’s father, is a former professional footballer.

Both of Ovi’s  parents completely devoted their careers to the Dynamo sports community, so Alexander had no choice but to join the ranks of the blue and white.

But why did the son of a basketball player and a football player suddenly choose hockey? Ovechkin’s father said that at the age of 8, Alex unexpectedly showed his love for the sport. According to Mikhail, everything happened by chance.

“Dynamo played with whom – I do not remember. The youngest son (Alex) was playing near the TV. I switched programs, saw hockey, and decided to find out the score. He found out I was about to click somewhere again, and then Sasha suddenly stated: “no, no, leave it!” It all started with this, ”recalled Mikhail in an interview with Sport Express.

However, Tatyana Ovechkina has a slightly different version, according to which the son became interested in the game much earlier, on a subconscious level.

Alexander made the choice in favor of hockey at the age of two, when on the eve of the New Year holidays, his mother took him to the Children’s World store. In the store, Alex liked the plastic helmet, stick and puck so much that he did not want to leave until Tatyana bought him the first hockey set in his life.

At age 8, Mikhail took his son to the familiar Dynamo coach Alexander Filippov, but he refused to take the boy: The players in the 1985 group were trained for several years, and Ovechkin did not even know how to skate. The future NHL superstar had to go to another coach, Vyacheslav Kirillov, with whom Ovi began to learn basic hockey skills from scratch.

Ovechkin’s Parents at first did not share interest in the son’s hobby. Mikhail and Tatyana considered the sport to be too traumatic, and demanding jobs did not allow them to regularly take their son to practices.

“When we first brought him to hockey, it didn’t last long. The fact is that my husband and I – then the head of the Dynamo women’s basketball team – were on a regular road trip, and Sasha stopped playing hockey for some time,” Tatyana Ovechkina said in an interview.

It was Coach Kirillov who saw something in Alex, and also his older brother Sergei, who fully supported Alex in ​​his endeavor, and actually forced Alexander to return to the game.

“When Sasha and I came again, they had a game with Spartak. He was seated at the very end of the bench. For Two periods he did not play. I looked, crying: “let’s go home!” -Sasha said wait. And in the third period, the coach put him in. After which he almost never left the ice, ” Ovechkin’s mother recalled.

From that moment on, Alexander’s hockey education was taken seriously. His grandfather or brother Sergey, with whom the boy was very close, took him to training, and then Mikhail joined in, for the sake of the career of his son, who was getting better and better. On the ice, Vyacheslav Kirillov worked closely with Ovechkin, literally sculpting a great player from Alexander.

“People know almost nothing about Sasha’s first coach, Kirillov. About the man who put his whole soul into my son, and to whom Sasha owes everything. After each training session, he told him what to work on – and Sasha stayed and worked. We came to Kirillov for additional classes. It used to be that the team was engaged in one half of the ice, and on the other, Kirillov was busy with Alex. It was something! This man was like a second father for Sasha,” Mikhail warmly recalled the first coach of his brilliant son. Alas, Vyacheslav Kirillov passed away at the age of 29, due to heart problems, not even surviving the first successes of his best pupil.

A huge talent was given to Ovechkin from birth, coupled with hard work, proper education in a sports family and a tremendous love of hockey, created Alexander, a great player already in childhood.

At the age of 10, Ovechkin survived the loss of his brother Sergei, who died in a car accident, but managed to get together psychologically and since then, going out on the ice, as if playing for two. After all, the eldest son of the Ovechkin began to play hockey, in addition, according to Alexander himself, it was Sergei who motivated Ovi to go in for sports, guided the true path, “taught him to fight to the end and give all of himself on ice.”

At 10 years old, the young sniper got into the Dynamo Moscow system, and began to play for children’s teams in the Moscow championship. Ovechkin, like any great talent, was ahead of his time, played for the elders, but he was always the best hockey player. Not only skill, but also character helped.

“I recall Sasha’s childhood in the Dynamo school starting at the age of ten. The team loses, the boys return to the locker room, everyone – hee hee, ha ha, and my one sits – weeps! Tears – with a finger! “How did we lose ?!” And what fights were in the locker room! The force was taken away. “You, so-and-so, did not give me the puck!” Guard! He hated losing all his life, ”recalled Ovechkin’s father.

Alexander was the real leader of his children’s team, where at the age of 10 he stood out by skating, size, and possession of the puck. Ovi liked to take control of the game, circling his rivals. The video from the games of young Ovechkin (#8, of course) shows that from an early age he used to dominate the ice rink.

Already at the children’s level, Ovechkin scored not just a lot, but in bunches. Here is a telling story on this topic, once told by father Mikhail.

“When Sasha seemed to be about 12 years old, I found out that Pavel Bure scored 56 goals at that age. My son at that moment was at 53 goals, and the last game remained in the season. Do you know what Sasha did after I told him about the Bure record? Scored six goals! Then I realized that something would come out of this guy. Around the same time, scouts started talking about him.”

Yes, at the age of 12, Ovechkin broke the unique record of Bure and first became interested in the world hockey community. People who watched children’s hockey already realized that the main talent of the generation was growing in the Dynamo school.

From the Dynamo 1985 team, which Kirillov didn’t bring to release (he was taken away from the group for some reason), except for Ovechkin, no other player gained nearly as much professional notoriety. Konstantin Fomichev and Vladimir Mochalov managed to get only to the Premier League, Konstantin Romanov and Vladimir Karpov even played a little in the KHL for Barys and Vityaz, but in no way compare to the The Great 8 from Washington.

At the age of 15, Ovechkin was transferred to an adult team, and in the 2001/2002 season of the Russian Super League, Dynamo head coach Vladimir Semenov first pulled the 16-year-old Ovechkin to the team: Alexander played 22 games, scored 4 (2 + 2) ) points. A year later, Ovi already broke records of the junior team of Russia, at the age of 17 he made his debut in the national team of the country at the Eurotour stage and spent the first full season for Dynamo. Even before reaching adulthood, Ovechkin became the main goal of the NHL clubs in the draft, and was almost chosen by Florida in 2003, but the Panthers scam to get rights to a 17-year-old European player (this was forbidden by the rules of the lottery), was quickly dismissed, and the deal did not take place.

Ovechkin played for Dynamo from 2001 to 2005, won Super League gold in the 2004/2005 season, and then almost ended up at Vanguard , but Alexander ultimately left for the NHL. There, he brilliantly still stands, already as a living legend of Washington. He scores the most, breaks records, wins titles and as selflessly as in childhood, loves hockey.

You can access the entire article here.

Interview with Alex Ovechkin’s First Professional Hockey Coach
Before He Became The Great Eight: An Interview With 18-year old Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin and the Dynamic Dynamos – Russian Super League Champions 15 Years Ago
How The Florida Panthers Schemed To Draft Alex Ovechkin in 2003.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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