COLUMBUS -- Even though he wasn't named MVP of the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday night, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin finally got his new car. He won't be keeping it for too long.
Ovechkin, who missed out on the car Friday night after lobbying to be picked last in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft Presented by DraftKings, was given the key to a new Honda after the game Sunday.
He is donating the new wheels to the Washington Ice Dogs hockey program.
Ovechkin's connection with the Ice Dogs program includes his friendship with Ann Schaab, a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who went on a sushi dinner date with Ovechkin in September.
"It means a lot," Ovechkin told NHL.com. "Honda connected with my agent and they just gave me a car, so I'm going to donate to [Ice Dogs] and that sweet little girl."
Ovechkin's quiet plan all along was to win the car Friday so he could donate it to Ice Dogs. He told nobody and was going to announce it if he was indeed one of the last two picks in the draft. He was picked third to last in the draft.
The representatives from Honda were so intrigued by Ovechkin's intense lobbying at the fantasy draft that they contacted his agent, David Abrutyn, to learn more about it. As soon as Honda heard about Ovechkin's intentions, it decided to give Ovechkin the car.
"The idea was if he doesn't win the [All-Star Game] MVP award, let's see if there is something else we can do," said Nick Lee, the national advertising manager for Honda. "Once we learned there was a charitable component to it, we thought, 'How great is that?' At Honda we do a lot of charitable efforts ourselves, tie it in with youth hockey, and Alex has got a nice couple of charities he works with, so we thought that could be a nice angle and a great story for everybody.
"That's the capper for us. It's not just for him, it's also for his charity and the kids, ultimately."
Ovechkin said he came up with the idea to lobby for the car during lunch with Abrutyn and a Capitals spokesperson Friday afternoon. He immediately said he would donate it to the Ice Dogs.
"Knowing Ovi has a little bit of a personality, we thought, 'What could he do that would add a little bit of fun to the night?'" Abrutyn said. "The idea was to do what he could to get the car, and if it worked out he was going to reveal that he was going to give it to this [Ice Dogs] organization. Knowing that youth hockey organizations, particularly one like that, probably could use a little help with transportation, moving the kids and their equipment around.
"With all the excitement of Friday night, credit to Honda in that when hearing what his true intentions were, being a supporter of hockey in communities around the country as well as an NHL sponsor, it was pretty clear to them that it would be a great idea to help out. A feel-good story on top of a great weekend, and a surprise for everyone who thought Ovi was looking for a car for himself. He was really looking for a car to help out an organization that we suspect could probably use it."
Ovechkin said he remained incredibly touched and moved by Schaab, who approached him to ask him on a date upon hearing he likes sushi, just like she does.
"It's just a sweet time, a good time, a cool time for me and for her," Ovechkin said. "I'm pretty sure they're going to use [the car] all the time. Obviously for them it's going to be a great present from my side, from Honda's side and from all the NHL's side."