“Hockey is my life and money is money. If you think about money, you stop playing hockey.” – Alexander Ovechkin
Judging by the quote above, it’s very easy to understand why Alexander Ovechkin not only made the NHL but became one of the best players to play the game. His high flying energy and acrobatic moves are something he’s truly perfected. Ovechkin is half machine half human like as he truly makes impact every time he steps on the ice. Known for being extremely versatile; high intensity and speed, big bone checking hits, decisive hand eye coordination and a powering shot that gives goalies nightmares. His nickname, for good reason, is Alexander the Great. The single biggest reason he’s so great? Passion.
The Russian 6 foot 3, 230 pound left winger is and has always been so passionate about playing the game of hockey. It all began in Moscow, Russia where Ovechkin was born. His first sign of passion came when he was a little boy at the age of just 2 years old. When he was in a Soviet toy store; he grabbed a toy hockey stick and refused to let it go. This was love at first sight. His parents say they knew he would be an athlete when he would choose to run up the steps to their 10th floor apartment instead of taking the elevator. That’s the type of high flying energy and athleticism that we would see in his game in later years to come. Whenever young Ovechkin saw a hockey game on TV, he would drop all of his toys and run to the TV, protesting if his parents tried to change the channel. That’s the kind of heart and passion that leads to success. Next for Alex was getting his parents to enroll him in hockey. By age 7, he was playing in the Russian Super league with Dynamo Moscow at the age of 16. He would make his professional debut in the 2001–02 seasons and he would spend three seasons there as he scored 36 goals and 32 assists in 152 career games. The following off-season, Ovechkin was selected 1st overall in the 2004 NHL draft by the Washington Capitals.
Passion for what you do is the single biggest factor that leads to success. Those who have more, like Ovechkin, for what they do will always go further and farther exceeding what others never thought possible, and those who have less will shortly give up as they will not have enough drive to get through the obstacles. When you have passion it’s what you call traveling down the path of least resistance. The training, dieting, early AM practices, hard work and sweat would be challenging for anyone who did not have the type of desire for hockey that Ovechkin had. It came natural to him, he enjoyed every minute of it, and if someone told him it takes a lot of hard work, he probably would disagree and say it was a lot of fun and it really wasn’t that difficult at all…. for him! Alex the great was born to play the game of hockey.