Ownership and investment in the National Women's Soccer League continues as Washington Spirit announced additional ownership investors on Monday, introducing Washington Capitals hockey star Alex Ovechkin. He joins a Spirit ownership group that now includes Chelsea Clinton, Jenna Bush Hager, Briana Scurry and Dominique Dawes.
Ovechkin, who is in his 16th season in the NHL, currently ranks sixth in NHL history with 730 career goals. He is the only player in NHL history to lead the league in scoring and win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy eight times. In 2018, Ovechkin became the first Russian-born captain to win the Stanley Cup, and is the only player in NHL history to receive the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, the Calder Trophy, the Art Ross Trophy, the Hart Trophy, the Ted Lindsay Award and the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Ovechkin's mother, Tatyana Ovechkina, was a two-time Olympic gold medalist in basketball for Team Russia, while his father, Mikhail, was a professional soccer player. The Capitals captain expressed in media availability that his mother was part of the inspiration to invest in women's pro sports.
"My mom was a professional athlete, and I know it was always hard to get attention from that. And, you know, just supporting women athletes, I think it's very important . . . and I'm happy to be part of it."
Spirit Managing Partner Steve Baldwin has been vocal about expectations for the club to elevate Washington Spirit as a premiere franchise in the league, and he believes that the newest members of the investor group will help the organization achieve that goal.
"I think we have brought forth a group that is the best investment group in the league," said Baldwin.
"We have a good organization. We have a good roster. Our roster is as deep as it's ever been as we entered this season, so we're really excited about it. Some of our younger players have to continue their maturation. We should be in the mix this year and that's the expectation that we have as a club, not only for this year but every year going forward. One of the things I love about the Capitals and Alex's work there is, they're in the hunt every year, and that's the expectation we have for our club as well."
The team has welcomed more than 40 individuals into the investor group in 2021. The club looks to expand the Spirit fanbase and build on the success the team has had since its inception in 2012.
In addition to Ovechkin, the club's newest investors are:
- Carol Melton
- Michelle Freeman
- Jodie McLean
- Teresa Carlson
- Marion Reimers and Lenora Milán Fe
- Paxton Baker
- Chris and Bill Curtin
- John and Karen McJunkin
The Spirit closed out their 2021 Challenge Cup with a fourth place finish in the East Division. The team will begin regular season play on May 16 against the Orlando Pride in Orlando. The Spirit's first home game for the 2021 season will be held on May 26 against the Houston Dash at Segra Field.