Turns out we all liked Alex Ovechkin all those years for more reasons than his incredible shot and prowess on the power play. Growing up in Russia, The Great 8
was a Sharks fan. Let’s be honest, Ovi still loves the Sharks and wishes he could play in San Jose right now. The feeling is mutual, buddy.
Also, something I did not know that came out of media availability in Winnipeg this morning: Ovechkin grew up a San Jose Sharks fan.— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) November 1, 2016
It gets better. Who was his favorite Sharks player at the time, you might ask? No, no. Joe Thornton wasn’t in San Jose yet. I know. It’s been a long time, but he’s not that old yet.
His favorite player: @OwenNolan11 https://t.co/UhJ6yETrXH— Brodie Brazil (@brodiebrazilCSN) November 1, 2016
Here’s some context from a great Washington Post article that you should absolutely give a read to:
“Back then, we don’t have a TV,” Ovechkin said. “We don’t have all the news, but what we heard of was the NHL. Of course, we knew Fedorov, Larionov, Lemieux, Gretzky, and you only watched on videotapes. You know, you buy in the store videotapes with highlights and the goals, like hits and fights and all of that kind of stuff. Obviously, like Lemieux, Iginla, those guys, you know, [Owen] Nolan. My favorite team was San Jose. I was cheering for them, especially when Nolan was there. … You grow up and you watch them and you want to be just like them.”
This, of course, begged the question: How did a Russian kid become a Sharks fan?
“Actually, it’s fun story,” Ovechkin said with a smile. “One of my teammates back then wear the hat with a shark, and we were like, ‘What is it?’ Because we don’t know the team. He said it’s the team over in San Jose, so I have a hat, I have a hoodie and like a jacket. Ulf Dahlen, I remember, my dad gave me a jersey of Ulf Dahlen. It was on my wall. That was kind of fun.”
An Ulf Dahlen Sharks jersey. This might be my favorite Ovi fact of all time. You’re welcome in San Jose anytime buddy. You’d look great in teal. I think.