The Washington Capitals' huge Metropolitan Division showdown with the Columbus Blue Jackets is Russian Heritage Night Thursday in Verizon Center and Caps star Alex Ovechkin will be the center of attention in the warmup, but not for his booming shots.
Ovechkin will be wearing specially designed Bauer Vapor 1X skates produced recently in Western New York and they will be auctioned to benefit the American Special Hockey Association. Ovechkin has become an ambassdor for the organization, which provides individuals with physical and developmental disabilities the opportunity to play the sport. Ovechkin has hosted ASHA skating sessions for the past three seasons.
The skates feature flags of United States and Russia as well as Washington D.C.'s Capitol Building and Moscow's St. Basil's Cathedral. They are the work of custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, who were featured in The Buffalo News in December for their work with custom cleats for NFL players.
The pair had a store in the Walden Galleria but opted to close that location due to rent considerations and run more of a workshop business at other locations rather than a retail outlet.
The skates will be autographed and auctioned by the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation on Handbid. The auction is currently open online at https://hand.bid/OviSkates and will close at the end of the second intermission of Saturday's Caps-Arizona game.