ARLINGTON, Va. - Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation raised $9,500 for the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) through an auction featuring Russian-American themed Bauer Vapor 1X skates worn by Alex Ovechkin during pregame warmups on March 23 when the Capitals hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of the Capitals' Russian Heritage Night.
All proceeds benefit ASHA, which provides individuals with physical and developmental disabilities the opportunity to play the sport of ice hockey. In addition to physical hockey skills, the program emphasizes the development of desirable individual characteristics such as team play, confidence, self-advocacy, self-reliance, concentration and personal accountability.
Ovechkin has a longstanding relationship with ASHA, having hosted ASHA skating sessions for the past three consecutive seasons. Ovechkin has been an ASHA ambassador since the first skate in 2014, when he met 11-year-old Washington Ice Dogs player Ann Schaab and granted her request for a sushi date following a preseason game. Inspired by his relationship with Schaab, Ovechkin announced his plans to donate a car to ASHA during the National Hockey League's 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend.
Ovechkin selected famed custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber to design the customized Bauer Vapor 1X skates, which feature flags of United States and Russia as well as Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Building and Moscow's St. Basil's Cathedral. He is the first NHL player to utilize his skates in this fashion, having met with the artists earlier this year to collaborate on a design for Russian Heritage Night that would celebrate and showcase the places he plays hockey and calls home.