Last of Us actor Keivonn Woodward meets idol and Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin as the pair share heartwarming hug — with the 10-year-old aiming to one day become the NHL’s first deaf black player
The Last of Us actor Kevionn Woodard, who aspires to become the first deaf black player in the NHL, has met his idol and Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin.
Woodard, who hails from Prince George’s County in Maryland, was allowed to spend all Friday with Ovechkin, 37, and the Capitals after the organization learned that the young star is an avid hockey fan.
That included a tour of the team’s facility and practice range, where Woodard scored twice during practice against Capitals goaltender Charlie Lindgren. Striker Nicolas Aube-Kubel also prepared for the youngster’s visit.
In the team’s locker room, Woodard taught Ovechkin how to tell his nickname “Ovi” in American Sign Language (ASL). The Russian, second only to Wayne Gretzky for all-time goalscoring, then presented Woodard with an autographed hockey stick.
“Oh, this is so cool,” Woodard said through an ASL interpreter. ‘I can not believe it. This is a dream of mine.’
‘Last of US’ actor Keivonn Woodard, 10, met his idol and Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin
Woodard and Ovechkin publicly embraced prior to the team’s game against the New York Rangers
Woodard also met newly retired and former Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly, who is just one of 11 black players to represent the organization.
Both Smith-Pelly and Woodard attended the Capitals’ game against the New York Rangers on Saturday. The pair were involved in the puck drop during the ‘Celebrating Black History’ pregame celebrations.
The Capitals eventually defeated the Rangers 6–3 in what was the team’s 29th win of the season.
Woodard was celebrated along with other youth hockey players during the game’s “Rising Stars” moment.
In October, the Capitals gave a $10,000 grant to the Bowie Hockey Club in Maryland, where Woodard plays.
The franchise was chosen based on its “missions and impact on diversity in hockey, as well as their plans to use the funding to further advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the sport.”
A portion of the grant was even used to support Woodard’s dream of turning pro by providing him with an ASL interpreter and special hockey gear.
In addition to most recently in the highly popular TV drama series The Last of Us, Woodard also starred in ‘Fractal’ and ‘Seeds of Hope: The Andrew Jackson Foster story’.
Woodard visited the Capitals branch with his mother (R) and wants to turn pro one day