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Ovechkin Takes Leave of Absence Following Father’s Death

Photo courtesy of Alexander Ovechkin

Ovechkin Takes Leave of Absence Following Father’s Death

Alexander Ovechkin has left the Washington Capitals for Moscow, Russia. to be with family following the death of his father, Mikhail.

He is officially considered ‘on leave’ and will be away from the club indefinitely. The Capitals plan to give their captain as much time as is needed in the grieving process. Mikhail had been battling some health issues over the past few years,

Mikhail Ovechkin was 71.

“Today I lost my father,” Ovechkin wrote in a post on Instagram on Wednesday. “I thank everyone for the support, but please be understanding and do not disturb my family in this difficult time for us. Thank you.”

Capitals teammates and coaching staff were asked about his absence following practice; the response was overwhelming care and compassion.

“He has our full support,” head coach Peter Laviolette said. “Life is tough. When it comes to your family and parents, that’s what matters. He’s going to deal with some things right now, and we’re going to be supportive.”

The team issued a statement shortly after Ovechkin’s post.

“Mr. Ovechkin was a true gentleman and was such a significant and consistent presence at Capitals games and practices,” the statement read. “With a constant smile on his face, he loved interacting with our fans and expressing his gratitude for their support of his son, of whom he was incredibly proud. Our organization’s thoughts are with the Ovechkin family at this difficult time.”

Owner Ted Leonsis also made a public post:

“The one thing I’ll always remember is he was always happy,” Ovechkin’s long-time linemate Nicklas Backstrom said, emotionally. “He would always smile… he was part of the beginning when Alex got here. He was always in the locker room, he was hanging out with the guys, he loved that, I think. That’s what he loved, so to get hit by this sad news is obviously really tough. I feel for the whole family, I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”

With hockey continuing for the rest of the Capitals, fellow linemate Tom Wilson did mention it would be hard for the group moving forward in the immediate future, but knows that Ovechkin would want his mates to push through the difficult time.

“All we can [do] is be there for him like he’s been there for us,” he said. “You never want to see a teammate go through that. O’s always a bigger-than-life kind of guy and his dad is that way, too. Obviously, the mom is a huge part of it, but I think Ovi’s dad was there for him, he was his guy and it’s a bond… we’re there for him, they’ve always treated us in this room as family and we’ll be there for him [for] as much time as it takes to pick up the slack here and do our best.”

Washington hosts the Florida Panthers on Thursday night at 6:00 PM central time. There is expected to be a moment of silence honouring Mikhail Ovechkin’s legacy prior to puck drop.


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