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US ambassador to Russia says Ovechkin ‘best player in the world’

John Sullivan told reporters that captain of the Washington Capitals is his favorite hockey player

MOSCOW, February 2. /TASS/. US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan told reporters on Saturday that Alexander Ovechkin, captain of the Washington Capitals, is his favorite hockey player. Sullivan added that in his opinion, Ovechkin is the best hockey player in the world.

On Saturday, the US ambassador attended a Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) game between Moscow’s clubs Dinamo and Spartak at the Arena CSKA stadium in the Russian capital. Sullivan told reporters that Ovechkin is his current favorite player, deeming him "the best player in the world." The envoy added that he had not met Ovechkin yet, but he is hoping to have an opportunity to do that soon.

"He [Ovechkin] is a quintessential Russian. What I really like about him is, he’s 34, I remember when he was 18 and he was just a teenager, he’d score a goal and you could just see the passion, the joy of a teenager. And now at 34, he’s still doing it, he still loves it. He’s such an inspiring player," the US ambassador said.

"I saw him score his first goal in Washington - I’ll throw out hockey dates at you - October 5, 2005, he scored his first goal, I saw it. I regret I won’t be there to see him score his 700th. But at some point years from now, I hope a long time from now, when he scores his last, I hope I’m alive and there to see that as well," Sullivan added.

"He is a heck of a special player and a special person too. And a great ambassador of the game. His love of the game and of life - it’s just palpable, you just see it in his face and the way he interacts with fans, teammates and opponents. Hard not to like him," the US envoy concluded.

Ovechkin is currently ranked eighth on the NHL’s all-time goals list with 695 goals. This season, the Washington Capitals sniper has scored 37 goals so far.