Ovechkin can compete in Sochi, says Capitals owner
Friday, 25 January 2013
January 25 - Russian ice hockey star Alex Ovechkin will be allowed to compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi regardless of whether National Hockey League (NHL) players are permitted to, after the owner of his club, the Washington Capitals, stated that it was "a once-in-a-lifetime thing for him" and that he would not stand in his way.
Ovechkin has stated his desire to represent his country at his home Winter Olympics despite the ongoing dispute over whether NHL players will be allowed to compete at the games, but Capitals owner Leonsis has said that he will allow Ovechkin to compete at Sochi 2014.
Leonsis said: "If they don't [reach an agreement for NHL players to compete at Sochi] and Alex still wants to go to the Olympics, I'm going to be honest, I'm going to let him go.
"I just think it's kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing for him to have something played in Russia.
"He's going to be a torchbearer and it's very important to him and his family.
"Who am I to get in the way of him wanting to fulfill that?"
Leonsis also gave his backing to other players that wish to compete at the Games.
"It's a players league.
"If the union and the players demand and really want to go to the Olympics, then we should let them."
The 27-year-old Ovechkin was part of the Russia team that won the 2012 World Championships in Helsinki, and is also the only player in history to have been named in the NHL First All-Star team in his first five seasons in the league consecutively.
Contact the writer of this story at james.crook@insidethegames
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