Alexander Mikailovich Ovechkin, the son of Tatiana and Michael Ovechkin was born on September 17, 1985 in Moscow, Russia.
The first signs of the Ovechkin’s future came when he was a child. At the age of two, in a Soviet toy store, Alexander grabbed a toy stick and helmet and refused to let go. His parents treasure the picture to this day. As a small child, whenever he saw a hockey game on TV, he “threw all his toys” and ran to the TV. He “protested strongly” if his parents tried to change the channel. His parents says they knew he would be an athlete when Alexander chose to run up the steps to their apartment rather than take the elevator.
He began playing hockey at the age of 7. Soon after he began, however, he had to postpone his hockey career because his parents were unable to take him to the rink. But one of Ovechkin’s coaches saw Ovechkin’s talent and communicated to his parents that he should continue to play hockey. Ovechkin’s brother, Sergei, who later died in a car accident, saw that Alexander loved hockey and insisted that he be allowed to return. Ovechkin resumed playing a few months later and never looked back.
Because he has studied at the Military Institute for Border Guards, he apparently does not have to serve in the military in Russia. Military duty is supposed to be “compulsory” in Russia, but it is so in name only and is enforced selectively rather than uniformly; for instance, young Russian star Ilya Kovalchuk has never served in the military, while Ukrainian-born Nikolai Zherdev was forced to go to arbitration court in Switzerland because Russian authorities claimed he had to serve in the military. Apparently Ovechkin will not have to face these circumstances.
Due to the NHL lockout, Alexander Ovechkin is currently playing his fourth season for Dynamo Moscow. He has on numerous occasions expressed his desire to play in the NHL, but there is still
some doubt about his contract status with Dynamo Moscow. Since the agreement between the NHL (National Hockey League), the NHLPA (National Hockey League Players’ Assiciation) and the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) is expired, NHL clubs apparently must negotiate transfer fees–compensation paid to those teams from which NHL teams get their players–individually with the European clubs. Because of the fact that there are no rules, European teams can theoretically demand any price for their players. Dynamo Moscow has so far made demands of up to $3 million dollars for Ovechkin, and it remains to be seen how soon the Washington Capitals will be able to bring him to North America even after the NHL resumes play, at least until the last year of Ovechkin’s contract is expired.
Alexander Ovechkin for the National Team
Alexander Ovechkin.At the age of 16, Alexander Ovechkin surpassed the scoring record set by countryman Ilya Kovalchuk in the World Under-18 Junior Championships by scoring 14 goals and 4 assists in 8 games. Ovechkin still holds the scoring record today.
At the age of 17, Ovechkin helped lead the Junior National Team to the Gold medal with two hat tricks, one against Switzerland and one against USA, and an assist.
Also at the age of 17, when he was selected by legendary Russian coach Victor Tikhonov to play in the Ceska Poistovna Eurotour tournament, Alexander became the youngest skater ever to play for the Russian National Team in the history of Russian hockey. The only other player to play for the National Team at that age was legendary goaltender Vladislav Tretiak. In that tournament he also became the youngest player ever to score for the National Team. He finished the tournament with 1 goals and 2 assists in 3 games.
At the age of 18, Ovechkin was named Captain of the Junior Russian National Team although he was a year younger than many of the other players on the team. Ovechkin finished the tournament with 5 goals and 2 assists, while Russia finished 5′th in the tournament.
At the age of 19, Ovechkin was named to the Russian National Team for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. He was the youngest player in the tournament, and he finished with a goal and an assist in 6 games playing against established NHL stars.
This year, at the age of 19, Alexander Ovechkin was named Captain of the Junior National Team in the 2005 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. This year’s tournament, lasting from December 25 to January 4, was Ovechkn’s third and last. At the end of the tournament he had collected 7 goals (tied for tournament lead) and 4 assists. His team received the silver medal after losing the gold medal game to Canada on January 4, and Ovechkin was named the Best Forward of the tournament as well as selected to the tournament All-Star Team.
Alexander Ovechkin for Dynamo Moscow
Alexander Ovechkin celebrates a goal.Ovechkin began playing in the Dynamo Moscow system from the very start. In Russia, unlike in North America, hockey teams build players in their systems from childhood. Of course since the fall of the Soviet Union the players always have the option of which team they play for, but teams encourage players to stay in the system and hope that some of those players will eventually reach the Russian Superleague, the best hockey league in Russia and, according to some, the second best league in the world after the NHL.
Over the years Ovechkin worked his way up ranks of the Dynamo system and at the age of 16 he made his debut for Dynamo Moscow in the Russian Superleague in the 2001-2002 season. He scored 2 goals and 2 assists in 21 games.
The next year, in the 2002-2003 Superleague season, he scored 8 goals and 7 assists in 40 games.
Last year, at the age of 18 in the 2003-2004 season, he scored 13 goals and 10 assists in 53 games. He won the award for Best Left Wing in the Superleague and was the youngest player in the history of Dynamo Moscow to lead the team in scoring.
So far this year, as of February 16, 2005, the young forward has 10 goals and 12 assists in 31 games. An ongoing shoulder injury sustained in the Gold Medal Game against Canada in the World Junior Championships in January has caused him to miss nearly two months of play this season.
Ovechkin at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft
Alexander Ovechkin signifies #1 after being drafted 1st overallProjected to be 1st overall at the age of 14, Alexander Ovechkin never relinquished his reign of the 2004 Draft Class. Performances in prestigious tournaments and leagues only reinforced his position as the best undrafted prospect in the world.
On June 26, 2004, Alexander Ovechkin was drafted 1st Overall by the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin is only the second Russian in NHL history to be drafted 1st Overall (The first was countryman Ilya Kovalchuk in 2001).
Ovechkin is now on top of the NHL prospects list maintained by Hockey’s Future.