Alex Ovechkin’s time with the Stanley Cup was a spectacle in itself. First, he got to celebrate with all his Capitals teammates around the city of Washington, raising the bar for how teams should celebrate winning the hardest trophy to win in professional sports.
The Great 8 then hopped on a plane overseas to take it back home to Russia where he visited his hometown of Moscow, his old minor hockey stomping grounds, and even went back to his old childhood apartment, while mixing in a few keg stands loading Lord Stanley’s mug with caviar. You’re probably getting a little fatigued on hearing about Ovechkin’s journey with the cup, but this story will surely give you a different perspective.
Ovechkin, like many kids around the world, grew up playing the sport with a sibling. For Ovechkin, it was his brother Sergey who helped him fall in love with the game. 14 years older than Alexander, Sergey passed away at the age of 24 when he was just 10 years old. Sergey was involved in a car crash, and died surprisingly after a blood clot formed stemming back from the accident.
Given the age disparity, Sergey was instrumental in passing down his hockey knowledge and experiences to his younger brother. After visiting his parent’s old apartment, Ovechkin and his parents headed to the cemetery where Sergey lays.
In an interview with NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti, Ovechkin explained how special it was to share the trophy with his brother at his grave.
"It's hard," Ovechkin said. "It was a tough moment, it was a tough moment for my parents, but it is what it is. You can't take time back. You can't change time, so we just move forward. But I think it was very important for me personally because he's the guy who, he's my brother obviously. You can't change it, but he motivated me to play hard and I gave what I can on the ice."
Back in 2015, Ovechkin opened up to reporter Graham Bensinger for the first time in a public setting on losing his brother, and how Sergey still motivates him to strive for greatness.
Somewhere out there, Sergey is smiling down on his brother with the same grin we saw from Ovechkin when he lifted the cup.