(via Twitter/Alex Ovechkin)
Throughout the All-Star Game’s fantasy draft, Alex Ovechkin campaigned to be selected last so he could win the car. While many thought it was a joke by one of the game’s most colorful players, there was actually an incredibly heartwarming reason behind his wish.
You wouldn’t have been wrong if it seemed like a joke at first. Alex Ovechkin, one of the game’s wealthiest players, wanting to be picked last so he could score a free car? Couldn’t he just go out and buy a handful of them if he so wished?
Well, it turns out that it wasn’t a joke at all. Ovechkin did want the car and it wasn’t about the money or the car itself so much as it was about giving a gift to someone who could really use it.
The story began back in October, when Ovechkin met one of his biggest fans, Ann Schaab, during an event attended by several Washington Capitals players. The 10-year-old who has Down syndrome worked up the courage to ask the Capitals superstar out for a sushi dinner and Ovechkin didn’t hesitate, agreeing to the opportunity to spend some time with, “the cutest little girl,” he had ever seen.
Over the course of an evening, following a Capitals game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Ovechkin and Schaab spent time together discussing their favorite parts of the game. She even got introduced to members of the Capitals, as well as coach Barry Trotz. But Ovechkin clearly wanted to do more.
That’s when he set the plan into motion to win the car, either by way of last overall pick or game MVP, and donate it to Schaab and the Washington Ice Dogs organization, a club in Washington for children and young adults with disabilities.
Eventually, as reported by the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt, Honda found out the real reason why Ovechkin wanted the car and donated one to the Russian superstar’s cause.
“Everybody felt like I just wanted a car to drive it,” Ovechkin told Prewitt. “Some, maybe haters or somebody, going to think I just need a car, but we did it for charity and good stuff.”
Of odd note, however, is that Ovechkin misspoke when he referred to Schaab’s team as the North Virginia Cool Cats. Schaab plays for the aforementioned Ice Dogs. But the Capitals weren’t going to let either team go without something special from all-star weekend, and took to Twitter to say they have something special in store for the Cool Cats.
Though he didn’t take home the trophy or get selected last, Ovechkin is the weekend’s MVP for his heartwarming gesture.