- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 6, 2011

By the time the official announcement was made that Alex Ovechkin signed an equipment deal with Bauer, the secret was long out. The Bauer Cadillac at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and the giant Bauer backdrop and piles of equipment gave it away.

But that doesn’t underscore the importance of the deal — a six-year pact between the hockey equipment provider and the Capitals star that the company hopes will further expand business in Russia and other parts of Europe.

“Russia and that area of the world is a great growth opportunity for us. Especially leading up to the Olympics, there’s a lot of investment happening in Russia as we lead up to 2014,” Bauer president and CEO Kevin Davis said. “There’s a lot of players there, so as the KHL gets bigger and broader and a lot of the players there are wearing Bauer and other western brands, it’s a great opportunity for us. I would say we’re just at the beginning of some really great growth in that area of the world.”

Ovechkin and Bauer will team up to provide 108 sets of hockey equipment to the Potomac Valley Amateur Hockey Association as well as 108 sets for the Dynamo Hockey School in Moscow. Capitals Charities will also donate $25,000 to the Potomac Valley Amateur Hockey Association, which owner Ted Leonsis said will be able to distribute to teams in Virginia, Maryland and the District.

On the ice, Ovechkin moves from CCM to Bauer, which also has deals with teammate Nicklas Backstrom and Patrick Kane. The Caps’ captain has complained of broken sticks in the past but didn’t want to criticize the company he previously endorsed.

“I think that CCM treat me well. They help me a lot, and without that project I can’t score 65 goals,” he said. “But in that kind of moment and that kind of situation right now, I feel the Bauer is company who I’m looking forward to work with. I played with this stick a couple years ago and I like it.”

Ovechkin has been on the ice in Arlington working out with Bauer equipment since last week. So far, it seems, so good.

“He’s very, very confident in his new equipment, and I think that’s half the battle,” Leonsis said. “He’s been trying his hardest to try to break a stick and so far they seem to be indestructible and that makes us all smile.”

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