Alex Ovechkin somehow just became more elite.
EA Sports announced on Monday that Ovechkin will be the cover athlete for its NHL 21 video game set to release on Oct. 16. For the second time in his career, the Capitals’ superstar will hold the honor and joins Jonathan Toews as the only two-time cover athletes in the game’s history.
When learning the news, Ovechkin shared his appreciation and of course had to crack a joke in classic Ovi fashion.
“It’s a huge honor to be on the cover of NHL 21 for the second cover in my career,” he said. “More importantly, I’m glad I’m looking just as good on the cover this year as I did in 2007!!!”
EA Sports made the announcement with a powerful video it released on Twitter, citing Ovechkin’s accomplishments and impact on the league as why he was ultimately chosen for the honor.
The narrator of the video walks viewers through Ovi’s incredible career. The video opens with images from his childhood and early years in the league and paints the picture of the young Russian star moving overseas to chase his dreams, barely speaking the language.
However, as the video referenced, he spoke the one language that everyone understood: hockey.
It progresses to show highlights from his playing career – both actual footage and video game recreations of those moments. EA Sports then recognized Ovi for his impact on the game beyond his own play by referencing the future generation of hockey players he inspired.
NHL 20’s cover athlete Auston Matthews had a cameo appearance where he tells a story of watching Ovechkin play when he was just a kid in the stands.
“I was at that game,” Matthews said. “That memory has just been kind of engraved in my mind. It was probably the greatest goal I’ve ever seen.”
The narrator then mentions Ovi’s critics – the ones who said he wasn’t the greatest because he had never won the cup – and his ability to silence them and remind them that the league wouldn’t be the same without him.
The video even features a clip of Ovechkin asking Sidney Crosby who he thought would win the Hart Memorial Trophy. Crosby responds, “you,” showing that even his greatest rivals recognize how much he means to the game.
Ovi’s history-altering career and inspiring story led EA Sports to select him as the lead representative for their innovative game, which will now feature the new “Be A Pro” experience to give players the chance to live the life of an NHL star both on and off the ice. EA Sports says the game will allow players to, “Impress the front office, go early on draft day, and chase greatness as players earn a spot on the first line, compete for the Stanley Cup, and become the league’s next best,” just like Ovechkin did in his career.
“Our community has been asking for an invigorating Be A Pro experience that puts them in the same spotlight as their favorite NHL stars, like Alex Ovechkin,” said Sean Ramjagsingh, Executive Producer of NHL 21. “Ovechkin’s gameplay legacy, on and off the ice, is helping us to bring the next generation of EA SPORTS NHL gameplay to life with NHL 21.”
The NHL 21 Great Eight Edition will be released on Oct. 16 for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and is now available for preorder.