Alex Ovechkin has already collected almost every award in hockey imaginable, and he just won another.
USA Hockey announced on Wednesday that Ovechkin will receive the prestigious Wayne Gretzky International Award. He will be honored at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Dec. 12.
The award recognizes international players who have had a significant impact on advancing hockey in the United States.
After the Capitals drafted him first overall in 2004, Ovi has used his prominence in hockey to make an impact on the Washington area. Ovechkin started Ovi's Crazy 8's in 2006, providing more than 5,000 tickets to help underserved children attend Caps games.
2019 marks the sixth consecutive season that he will be hosting a skating event for the American Special Hockey Association. Ovi has also worked with several foundations to grant the wishes of ill children.
Over the course of Ovechkin's NHL career, youth participation in hockey in the DMV has nearly doubled, rising from 13,923 to 22,500, according to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
“His performance on the ice and efforts off the ice have certainly translated into more kids and families wanting to be involved in our sport,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey, in a press release. “He’s been a great ambassador for hockey and embodies what the Gretzky Award represents.”
Entering his fifteenth season in Washington, Ovechkin has made a habit out of winning awards.
Ovi's scoring prowess has him ranked thirteenth on the NHL's all-time goal list, and another 50 goal season would push him all the way to seventh.
Finishing his career as the top-ranked goal scorer is not out of the question, as Ovechkin continues to chase the namesake of his most recent award.
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