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Ovechkin has memorable 'first date' with young fan

by Mike G. Morreale

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin won't soon forget the most memorable dinner date with the "cutest little girl" he's ever met.

Ann Schaab, a 10-year-old bundle of joy who has Down syndrome, had the courage to ask Ovechkin out on a date for sushi dinner and some kickball during an American Special Hockey Association skating session with the Capitals forward Sept. 11 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.

"I was pretty surprised when Ann skated over and asked me out during our skate," Ovechkin said. "I thought it was a good idea and decided to take her up on it."

A fourth-grade student at Fulton Elementary School in Maryland, Ann played it cool despite being in the presence of about 60 other players from the association. And Ovechkin.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin showed off his new 'girlfriend,' 10-year-old Capitals fan Ann Schaab. Ovechkin treated her and her family to a preseason game and a sushi dinner.

"She's the cutest little girl I've ever seen," Ovechkin told "Caps Red Line." "She asked me for a date to go and eat sushi but we didn't have lots of time [Sept. 11] so we decided to bring her to the Capitals [preseason] game against the Carolina Hurricanes [Oct. 5 at Verizon Center]. We would talk before the game and then after go and spend some time to eat sushi."

The big day started when Schaab and her parents, Melissa and Lou, arrived at Kettler to meet with Ovechkin. Ann got the chance to sit at Ovechkin's stall and try on his helmet.

"It smells like [Ovechkin's] head," Ann said.

Ovechkin soon after entered the locker room to Ann's surprise and presented her with tickets to the Hurricanes game and offered her a ride to Verizon Center. He also gave her a personalized jersey and flowers and asked if she would be interested in going on a date to have sushi after the game.

"I might have to check with my parents," Ann said.

A smiling Ovechkin assured his date that everything would be fine. He would drive the speed limit and make certain she arrived at the arena safely. At one point, Ann asked her mother for her wedding ring, perhaps to make a special pledge to her new-found man.

"You will have lots of boyfriends who will want to marry you," Ovechkin told Ann, as relayed by CSN.

The five-time NHL All-Star drove Ann to Verizon Center and then helped her out of his truck. He then told Ann to meet him on the Capitals bench for pregame warmups. She watched the game in the company of her family in the Ovi's Crazy 8's seating section at Verizon Center. Ovechkin scored a goal in the Capitals' 5-2 victory.

After the game she had her jersey signed by a number of Capitals players. She also made defenseman Nate Schmidt smell Ovechkin's socks, and also asked him for a favor.

"Tell Ovi we have a date, so chop-chop," Ann said, sending the second-year defenseman on his way.

Ovechkin made good on that request by coming out and introducing Ann as his "new girlfriend" to coach Barry Trotz. Then Ovechkin and Ann entered the owner's lounge, where a sushi dinner that included salmon rolls, sashimi tuna and eel and avocado awaited them. Ann's parents sat down and served as chaperones at the dinner-date.

"It was a dream come true; give me a high-five," Ann said to Ovechkin after dinner. "Go red and go Alex Ovechkin. And go [No.] 8."

Ovechkin was delighted that the date went so well.

"It was great to see a smile on her face," he said. "She is a terrific and funny kid. She seemed to have a lot of fun and I was very pleased to spend some time with her."

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