ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin granted the wish of Kids Wish Network child Lauren Santora, 8, on Friday, Dec. 12, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and on Saturday, Dec. 13, during the Capitals game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
A Norwalk, Conn., native, Santora, 8, has been playing hockey since age two and wished to meet her favorite hockey player, Ovechkin. Santora was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a child.
On Dec. 12 Santora joined Ovechkin for breakfast at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Santora received a tour of the Capitals locker room, where she was presented with her own stall and new equipment. Following practice Santora skated with Ovechkin and several additional Capitals players. In addition the Santora family went on a shopping spree at the Team Store courtesy of Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation.
Santora’s wish experience continued on Saturday, Dec. 13. Prior to the game she will watched warmups from the Capitals bench and stood on the blue line with the starting lineup for the National Anthem. After watching the game from Ovechkin’s seating section, “Ovi’s Crazy 8s, Santora spent additional time with Ovechkin in the Capitals locker room.
“I am very honored to have had a chance to meet Lauren and spend some time with her,” said Ovechkin. “She is a courageous girl and a great hockey player. It was great to see her smile and enjoy her time with our team. I also want to thank the Kids Wish Network for their involvement in this experience.”
The wish was one of several community initiatives Ovechkin has continued to support throughout the 2014-15 season. In 2006 Ovechkin created Ovi’s Crazy 8s, a program through which he purchases and donates eight Capitals season tickets to Most Valuable Kids, allowing fans who normally wouldn’t have access to tickets the opportunity to attend games. In September, Ovechkin held an American Special Hockey Association Skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and hosted an ASHA player at a game in October. In addition he also supports organizations that work with children to grant their wish, having most recently granted the wish of Washington, D.C., native Ellie Carney.
Kids Wish Network is a nationwide charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations.