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Ovechkin arrives in China as ambassador for NHL

Capitals forward greeted by fans at airport in Beijing, attends Renaissance Cup

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Alex Ovechkin arrived in Beijing to much fanfare Sunday.

The Washington Capitals forward, who is visiting China this week as an international ambassador for the NHL, was greeted by groups of children at the airport wearing his No. 8 jersey.

"Hey guys, I'm in China and I'm really excited to be here for five days," Ovechkin said in a video posted on the Capitals website. "Excited to see the town and meet up with the people and enjoy my time."

Video: #Gr8inChina | Ovi Arrives

The Capitals captain was not the only one to make the trip. His bobblehead had an eventful journey from Washington D.C.'s Chinatown to Beijing to meet its namesake in China. 

Tweet from @Capitals: Ovi bobblehead travels: from D.C.'s Chinatown to the real thing 🇨🇳#Gr8inChina pic.twitter.com/5cw2pgozod

Later Sunday, Ovechkin attended the Renaissance Cup, a hockey tournament featuring Kunlan Red Star, the local team from the Kontinental Hockey League, Arizona State University and three teams from the VHL, a minor-league affiliate of the KHL, at Aozhong Ice Sports Club.

Ovechkin and Mr. Zhou Yunjie dropped the ceremonial first puck. Zhou is the chairman of ORG Technology, which sponsors the Renaissance Cup and is one of the biggest supporters of hockey in China.

Zhou also presented Ovechkin with a traditional Chinese gift, a jade carving of an ox. Ovechkin was born in the Chinese year of the ox in 1985.

Upon departure, Ovechkin took pictures and signed autographs with more fans before returning to the hotel.  

Tweet from @Capitals: Ceremonial puck drop ������Photos with fans ������Gifted a traditional bull jade carving ������A great first day for #Gr8inChina pic.twitter.com/ZHzGGE1UPI

On Monday, Ovechkin will take part in a hockey clinic for a group of approximately 40 players between the ages of 10 and 12 as part of a day filled with activities in Beijing.

"It is a huge honor for me to be an ambassador for the entire Washington Capitals organization and the National Hockey League for this special trip to China," Ovechkin said in July. "I think it is very important to spend time to help make people all over the world see how great a game hockey is."

The NHL has played games in China each of the past two preseasons. 

The Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames played two games in 2018, one in Shenzhen and one in Beijing. The Bruins, who went to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final and lost to the St. Louis Blues in seven games, won each game against the Flames, 4-3 in a shootout and 3-1.

In the inaugural trip to China in 2017, the Los Angeles Kings won both games against the Vancouver Canucks. The Kings won 5-2 at Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai and 4-3 in a shootout at Wukesong Arena in Beijing.

In addition, the Stanley Cup made its first visit to China in its 127-year history last September. The iconic trophy traveled to Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Beijing.

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