Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been a busy man this summer. In addition to a brief vacation in Turkey and tending to his typical offseason responsibilities with Russian media, Ovechkin has been working on his academics, most notably, a pursuit of a doctoral degree in teaching.
According to Match TV, on Friday the pre-defense of Ovechkin’s Ph.D. dissertation took place at the Federal Scientific Center for Physical, Culture and Sports, under the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation. As a result of Friday’s pre-defense, Ovechkin was recommended for public defense of his scientific dissertation. All 14 members of the Academic Council and reviewers present were unanimously in favor.
Ovechkin’s thesis is “a comparative analysis of technical and tactical training for teams in North America and Russia.” Ovechkin studied three children’s hockey schools in Russia: Spartak, CSKA and Yaroslavl Lokomotiv. He also studied three North American academies that are sponsored by NHL clubs: Washington Capitals, New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.
In an interview with Match TV, Ovechkin shed some light on his thesis. “It is important to share the experience that I have. This will be the right decision for us, especially since my school will open soon.”
Ovechkin graduated from the University of Physical Education back in 2008, immediately after the world championship in Quebec. Igor Zakharkin, the second coach of the Russian national team, took the defense of diplomas from him and Ilya Kovalchuk.
Ovechkin was asked in the Match TV interview when he found time to write a dissertation, considering the amount of work required and his busy hockey schedule.
“This is a fair comment. But I have a great team that helped me and consulted with me. Therefore, everything was at the highest level.”
You might think this must be a first for Russian hockey players, but that’s not the case. According to Sovsport, there are at least two other Russian players who have earned their Ph.D.’s: Forward Ivan Nepryaev, a fifth round selection by the Washington Capitals in the 2000 draft and a participant in the 2006 Olympics in Turin, as well as defender Artem Ternavsky, who was not invited to the national team. Nepryaev now works as a scout for the Minnesota Wild.
By Jon Sorensen