Alex Ovechkin Grants a Wish

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Posted December 13, 2014

(Comcast SportsNet)

Alexander Ovechkin has been scoring big on and off the ice again this hockey season.  In 2006, he created “Ovi’s Crazy 8s,” a program through which he purchases and donates eight Capitals season tickets to Most Valuable Kids.  This allows fans who normally wouldn’t have access to tickets the opportunity to attend games.  Last October, Ovechkin hosted an American Special Hockey Association skate at the Kettler Capitals IcePlex and actually surprised a young skater by asking her out on a date.  She also had the opportunity to view a game from the “Crazy 8s” section.  Ovi also supports organizations that work with children to grant their wishes.

Friday morning, Dec. 12, Ovi was at it again. It was the beginning of an awesome adventure for eight-year-old Lauren Santora. Through the work of Kids Wish Network she got her wish granted to meet Ovechkin, her favorite hockey player.  She and her family are from Norwalk, Connecticut and she has been playing hockey since she was two years old.  She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a child and has been hospitalized several times in her young life as a result of the disease.  According to the Mayo Clinic, Type 1 diabetes, which usually strikes in childhood or early adulthood, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter the cells to produce energy.  Only 5% of people that have diabetes have Type 1.  Diligent, constant blood monitoring and injections are needed for those with the disease, and that can be daunting for a tough little hockey player and her family.

Lauren met Ovi for breakfast at the Kettler Capitals IcePlex, went on a shopping spree at the Team Store, and toured the Capitals locker room where she was presented with her own stall.  She also got to skate with Ovi and other Caps’ players after their practice.

But it didn’t end there.  Saturday night Lauren was Ovi’s special guest as she got to see the Caps take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Before the game she got to see warmups from the Caps’ bench, she stood on the ice in full uniform with the first line for the National Anthem, during the game they sat in “Ovi’s Crazy 8s” section, she got to ride the Zamboni and, afterwards, she got to spend more quality time with her hero.

During the second intermission, Lauren spoke to Caps’ announcer Joe Beninati about why  Ovechkin is her favorite hockey player.  “He skates fast and he makes stuff happen,” she said smiling and obviously having a wonderful time.

Certainly, Ovechkin’s philanthropic nature is yet another thing that captures the attention and hearts of so many hockey fans near and far, even a little girl from Connecticut with a tenuous disease, but an unbreakable spirit.

Lauren from @kidswishnetwork got her own locker and skated with @aleksandrovechkinofficial during today's practice.

A photo posted by Washington Capitals (@washingtoncaps) on

Lauren from @kidswishnetwork is spending some time with the team during practice today.

A photo posted by Washington Capitals (@washingtoncaps) on