It’s been a year of firsts for Alex Ovechkin.
His first Stanley Cup (and the Washington Capitals first Stanley Cup) and his first Conn Smythe Trophy were major accomplishments that one of the league’s all-time greats had yet to accomplish before the beginning of June.
But up until Wednesday night, no NHL player had ever been handed the ESPY for Best Male Athlete.
And so when Alex Ovechkin’s name was pulled out of the envelope, he added another first to his incredible year.
Ovechkin beat out the likes of Houston Astros first baseman Jose Altuve, who was instrumental in his teams’ World Series win, Houston Rockets guard James Harden and five-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.
He wasn’t on-hand to accept the award as he was back home with his wife Nastya, who is about to bring the couple’s first child into the world.
Ovechkin’s season was special even before the Stanley Cup win, scoring 49 times to win the Rocket Richard Trophy for the seventh time and reached the 600-goal milestone to become only the 20th player in NHL history to hit the mark. He also played in his 1,000th NHL game on April 1.
Ovechkin also took home the ESPY for Best NHL Player, which wasn’t a surprise given his year.
Hockey’s good night at the ESPY’s continued with the United States women’s ice hockey team winning the ESPY for Best Game after their 3-2 shootout triumph over Team Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The Americans trailed 2-1 in the third period before Monique Lamoureux-Morando’s breakaway goal forced overtime and the eventual shootout, where twin sister Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the winner in the sixth round to seal gold.
The win was sweet revenge for the American team, who had come up short against the Canadians in recent Olympics.