The generosity exhibited by Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin and Honda at the end of the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game is still a shock to the Schaab family.
Honda surprised Alex Ovechkin on Sunday with the gift of a 2015 Honda Accord. Ovechkin then revealed he was going to give the car to the Washington Ice Dogs hockey program in honor of a girl he met last year, Ann Schaab, who has Down syndrome and skates for the Ice Dogs, a member program of the American Special Hockey Association.
"It just surprised me that in the midst of all that activity going on, for Ovi to stop and give a shout-out to Ann and to special hockey was just amazing to me," Melissa Schaab, the 10-year-old's mother, told ABC7News on Monday.
Ovechkin failed to win any of the three cars awarded during All-Star Weekend. He was not one of the final two picks in the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft Presented by DraftKings on Friday and he was not the MVP of the All-Star Game on Sunday at Nationwide Arena. Columbus Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen won the MVP award, and Nashville rookie forward Filip Forsberg and Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were the final two players selected in the draft Friday. Ovechkin went third-from-last.
Ovechkin spent much of the night Friday campaigning to go last in the draft to win the car, going as far as to hold up a sign saying so that during an interview with NBCSN analyst Pierre McGuire. He reiterated his desire later by interrupting an interview of Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and was visibly upset when Team Foligno chose him with their penultimate pick.
Honda eventually found out why Ovechkin wanted the car so badly and decided to step in, surprising him with one soon after he scored four points in the game, a 17-12 win by Team Toews against Ovechkin's Team Foligno.
ABC 7 came to the Schaab home Monday to discuss the events that transpired one day earlier. Melissa expressed her gratitude while Ann, a fourth-grade student at Fulton Elementary School in Maryland, held the mic and told her side of the story.
"Ann was just excited to hear her name," Melissa Schaab said. "I don't think she understood the significance of a car, what a big donation that is. There was one gentleman that interviewed [Ovechkin] after the game and he said something about 'a very special girl named Ann' and her face just lit up when she heard that. She said, 'That's me. He's talking about me.' I think that that was more significant to her than the car."
Ovechkin met Ann on Sept. 11, 2014, when she asked Ovechkin out on a date for sushi dinner during an ASHA skating session at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., practice home of the Capitals. The date happened Oct. 5 and the bond between the two has been something special since.
"It means a lot," Ovechkin said minutes after hearing Honda would provide a car he could donate. "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.
"It's just a sweet time, a good time, a cool time for me and for her. 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.
"It was a secret all along," he continued. "You don't want to open up all the doors. Of course it was kind of funny, and there were some strange moments, but I'm happy that my agent and Honda were able to make it happen. She will be happy. She's going to remember this her whole life."