Alex Ovechkin has excelled at hockey, and now he’s trying his hand at soccer.
The Washington Capitals captain and his wife, Nastya, became two of 11 new investors of the Washington Spirit of the NWSL.
The Capitals star, who has spent his entire 16-season NHL career in Washington, was inspired to buy-in partly by his parents, Mikhail and Tatyana, who each was a high-level athlete in his native Russia. Mikhail played soccer, and Tatyana, a two-time Olympic gold-medal winner in basketball, helped Alex appreciate women’s sports.
“I’ve been involved in women’s sports since I was a little kid,” Ovechkin said Monday. “My mom was a professional athlete, and I know it was hard to get attention [for] that. Just to support women’s athletes, I think, is very important in the community and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Ovechkin is an avid soccer fan, who brought the Stanley Cup to a World Cup match after the Capitals won the championship in 2018. He said he hopes to meet the Spirit players and attend practices and home games.
“I want to go to see games and support the team,” he said. “I want to help the players. Obviously when the situation with the COVID[-19 pandemic] is done, I’ll be around the team, I think. I don’t know if I’m going to have time during the [NHL] season, but if they’re going to ask me some advice, I will share.”
The Spirit are a flagship member of the NWSL, which was founded in 2012. Managing partner Steve Baldwin said he was ecstatic to have the Ovechkins on the ownership team.
“It’s not often that we get to welcome someone like Alex into our league, and the impact he and his family will have on our club will be tremendous,” Baldwin said. “We are just thrilled to have Alex and Nastya as part of our organization, helping us elevate the status of women’s sports [and] making an impact in our community with kids. It’s a really great day, and we’re very excited.”
NHL.com staff writer Tom Gulitti contributed to this story.