The Edmonton Oilers announced this morning via their Twitter account that there will be an NHL 20 best-of-three battle between Wayne Gretzky and Alex Ovechkin on April 22nd as a means of raising money for a pair of local charities.
In a conversation with The Washington Post’s Scott Allen, Gretzky spoke a little bit about the growing link between him and Ovechkin, prompting the pair to come up with an idea that would benefit those in need:
“There’s been so much talk about the goal record, so there’s a nice link between Alex and myself. I thought we could do something that people could watch and help raise money for those who need it.”
According to Allen’s article, it was the Great One that originally came up with the idea after seeing a video of Alex Ovechkin playing video games with his son. In the same article, Ovechkin was asked about his relationship with the league’s all-time points leader and the Capitals captain spoke of Gretzky glowingly.
“We have a very good connection. We always stay in touch. It doesn’t matter if there’s a milestone coming up, he’s always reaching out to me and saying congrats. Before my 700th goal, I was a little down and he texted me and said, ‘Don’t worry about it, it will come.’ It’s nice of him. He’s a great person, and to have a relationship like that with The Great One, it means a lot to me.”
The games will be streamed on the Washington Capitals Twitch Channel on Wednesday night, April 22nd, starting at 6 pm. Not only are fans encouraged to watch the event itself, but they will also have an opportunity to make donations that will benefit both the Edmonton Food Bank and Washington’s “Feeding the Frontlines” fund, which also provides meals for those in need. I’m not sure how many vids Gretzky plays these days, but this should be a fun little battle between the two greats and all for a wonderful cause.
In addition to the virtual series, Gretzky and Ovechkin will also be appearing as guests on the NHL’s next episode of Hockey at Home where the pair will, for the first time, speak at length to discuss Ovechkin’s pursuit of Gretzky’s goal record among a variety of other topics. Kathryn Tappen from NBC Sports will host the event which is slated to take place on Monday, April 20th at 3 pm on Sportsnet, the NHL website, YouTube, and Facebook among others.
As a teaser, the NHL released a few quotes from the interview, including one where Gretzky talks about his belief Ovechkin will catch him in the goals department:
“I don’t think there’s any doubt in my mind that he has a great chance to do that. He plays on a good team with good players. And most importantly, Alex plays hard every single night. And to me, if you don’t play hard every night, those are kind of records you can’t break. And he does that. I think it’s great for hockey.”
When the NHL season was shut down back on March 12th, Ovechkin had reached 706 goals in his career with his sights now set on passing Gretzky’s all-time record of 894.