Like most kids playing sports in their youth, Alex Ovechkin had dreams of playing hockey and possibly making it to the NHL one day. However, growing up, Ovechkin was less focused on becoming one of the greatest hockey players of all time, and more focused on just playing the game he loved.
“If we talk about who I eventually became, then in childhood there were only hopes and dreams. I just wanted to play hockey and get into the NHL someday,” Ovechkin said in an interview with Sport-Express. “Prove that I can achieve something serious. In the end, everything turned out well for me, and I am grateful to fate, my parents and coaches for the fact that they believed in me and invested a lot.”
Ovechkin had many role models and influencers on and off the ice growing up. He believes his character was also shaped by many people along the way, but none had a bigger impact than his mom and dad.
“The character depends on the environment. I tempered mine, being on the team next to the rest of the guys. My coaches have been a huge influence. If we take primarily the purely hockey and domestic aspects of sports life, then dad and mom played a big role. In terms of becoming me as an athlete, they served as an excellent example. Mom is a two-time Olympic basketball champion, dad played football at a decent level. Striving to become better, or at least to be like them, was a great incentive for me. As for the character, it was immediately clear who was growing (smiles). From the very beginning, the boy Sasha grew up with character and did not like to lose. The same thing happened with me in youth hockey, and passed on to adult.”
The Great 8 has also dealt with his share of adversity, but his motivation has always been the same. He also admits, he’s been fortunate.
“My motivation has always been and remains one thing – you can’t go below your level. If I do something, even going out to workout, then I have to give the maximum. The same goes for the game itself. I do not want to lower the bar: you should always show the best result you can. I was lucky that in my career there were no serious injuries, after which I have to heal and recover for a long time. And so I, like everyone else, wanted to be one of the best. And fate turned out well for me.”
It’s true that Ovechkin has been relatively healthy in his career, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had to play through pain.
“The last time I had to play with ligament tears, really overcoming serious pain. It was at the victorious world championship for us in Minsk six years ago. I played with a special knee pad. And minor injuries and sores happen all the time – both the back, and the hand, and the knee. After each game, something hurts.”
His secret for staying positive, even in during the most difficult moments of life? Don’t look back.
“You should always go only forward. We do not live in the past, only in the present. Whatever happens – good or bad, we leave it behind and move on, gaining new experience.”
Shifting gears, Ovechkin was recently asked about the Capitals elaborate pregame rituals that typically take place in the hallway, just before taking the ice.
“It really helps us before the games, and each team has its own “chips”, which are regularly performed. Not only in hockey, but also in football, basketball, and other team sports. There are signs and quirks everywhere. They work for some, but not for others.”
Ovechkin’s latest endorsement deal is with PSB Bank, a banking company headquartered in his hometown of Moscow. Ovechkin has played a number of roles in a series of commercial spots for the bank (see below). In the latest spot he plays a superhero, which Ovechkin finds somewhat humorous.
“I take it with a great sense of humor. Superhero movie plots are very funny. It is a pleasure for me and the team from the bank to work in this manner. We do everything with a big smile and a good mood.”
Which leads one to wonder, is Ovechkin interested in an acting career at some point down the line?
“Of course, because I’m interested in being present not only in the sports field. People want to see me in another area, for example, to find out which Ovechkin will be an actor. If I was not interested, then I did not do these things.”
Ovechkin was asked if he had any goals left for his hockey career.
“Victory at the Olympics is my immediate global goal.”
Ovechkin is in the same boat as the rest of the hockey world at this point in time, as he has no idea when the NHL will start up again. As of now he has no firm plans to return to the states, but he remains in constant contact with the team.
‘There is no news from America about the start of the new season at the moment. I am constantly in touch with our guys from Washington. So far, I have no plans when I will leave for the USA and how I will prepare for the season there.
By Jon Sorensen
OVECHKIN COMMERCIALS FOR PSB BANK