Capitals fulfill United Arab Emirates hockey player’s dream of meeting Alex Ovechkin
With February being “Hockey Is For Everyone” month in the NHL, the league is taking strides to share the game with a more diverse and all-inclusive audience with the hopes that it will help develop interest in the sport among young people who may not otherwise get the opportunity to experience it.
The initiative got quite a lot of exposure back in December when the Washington Capitals partnered with Etihad Airways to provide a fan in the United Arab Emirates, Fatima Al Ali, with the surprise of a lifetime. Al Ali plays for the UAE’s women’s national team and earned the team’s attention with her skills on the ice.
As a result, the Capitals and Etihad offered to fly her to Washington and get to meet and practice with her favorite team.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 20, 2016
Al Ali finally headed stateside and joined the Capitals this week. She got to mingle in the locker room after the Caps roasted the Hurricanes 5-0 at home, and got to chat and snap pics with some of the Caps stars — including her favorite player, Alex Ovechkin: “That #moment when your #dream comes true,” Al Ali wrote on her Instagram post.
That #moment when your #dream comes true ❤ #Repost @monsportsnet.. That feeling when you fly across the world from the UAE and get to meet your favorite hockey player! #Caps #WashingtonCapitals #CapsHIFE #WashingtonDC #Washingtos #DC #usa #fatima_al_ali #ovi
A photo posted by Fatima Al Ali (@fatima_al_ali) on
So great that tonight Fatima Al Ali, a hockey player from the UAE, got to meet her favorite hockey player @aleksandrovechkinofficial! The #Caps and @etihadairways brought Fatima to Washington, D.C. as part of their #HockeyIsForEveryone initiatives this year. Tomorrow Fatima will skate with the team after practice. #CapsHIFE
A photo posted by Washington Capitals (@capitals) on
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 8, 2017
Then, she re-joined the team Wednesday morning and suited up. She took to the ice and showed off some of her stickhandling abilities while wearing a custom throwback Caps jersey.
Fatima Al Ali stickhandles pic.twitter.com/ts157ah8WW
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) February 8, 2017
Al Ali will also perform the ceremonial puck drop before the Capitals take on the Red Wings at Verizon Center on Thursday night. “Can’t thank everyone who made this happen!”