Contrary to popular belief (and occasional photo evidence), the off-season isn’t all about living the rockstar lifestyle and partying with super models for Alex Ovechkin. As Sovetsky Sport reports, The Great 8 teamed up with Gillette to present one million rubles to Dynamo’s youth hockey program, which is his alma mater. One million rubles converts to roughly $36,000 American, and will presumably used to provide all the beer and hookahs that Dynamo’s youth can handle… okay that last bit was total fabrication.
Ovechkin took some time for a little Q and A to reflect on his experience as a youth in Dynamo’s hockey program and leaving Russia to play in the NHL, translation courtesy Japers’ Rink:
When you were young did famous players give you any equipment?
“Oh yeah, during the Spartak Cup I was given Zhamnov’s stick. Another time Larionov gave me a stick. That was a long time ago but I still remember it. And now I understand just how much it means for the young kids when stars of the game give them gifts.”
Three-time Olympic champion and Dynamo Vice President Vitaly Davidov recently said “Anymore it is not worth it to prepare hockey player such as Sasha Ovechkin. It turns out that we aren’t raising them for us, but for our Uncle overseas. We’d be better off training mid-level players who would go play for our teams and not the NHL”. Do you agree with this?
“Of course not. If there are talented guys you need to guide them and develop them. They don’t have to become another Ovechkin, Malkin or Kovalchuk. They need to be themselves.”
“And if we focus on the mid level types… “Why bother educating players? Let’s just throw them in the furnace and be done with them”.. We won’t get very far that way. Russian hockey will quickly start to go downhill.”
See, Alex is a good dude that does responsible and thoughtful things, too.
Full translated interview available at Japers’ Rink.