Alexander Ovechkin about phygital sport: “It’ll be interesting!”

The left winger of the Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin became the headliner of the Sportsman Day held at Luzhniki stadium. In the morning the famous hockey player opened in Novogorsk the OviCup, a tournament named in his honor, and in the evening he came to challenge himself in virtual hockey. Phygital format in sport, a combination of physical and digital, is getting really trendy. Ovechkin’s involvement is a good case in point.

Just to warm up Alexander teamed up with the famous streamer Slava Buster to comment on the final NHL match in the pro category. Mikhail Kupriyanov and Ignat Markin were vying for the main trophy. While the star-stud duo of commentators was following the battle on virtual ice, they managed to talk about Buster’s brother hockey past, the interest in computer games of the renowned hockey player and also how the streamer swapped skins from the game for a subscriber’s car.
Mikhail Kupriyanov scored a win in the Pro category, he won the second match supervised by Ovechkin and Buster with the score 6-3 [2-0]. Inspired by the final match newly minted NHL commentators Alexander and Slava took over the game consoles.
– Alexander, how passionate are you about computer games? Do you play NHL with your teammates?
– Hockey is less popular than FIFA or shooters. But again, we must recall that it is all meant to promote and popularize our favorite sport discipline, to encourage people who take up esports both as professional and as amateurs to practice sports outdoors and at children’s sport schools.
– Do you play yourself now and then?
– Sure, we do play from time to time. Although I prefer other games as overplayed NHL in my childhood and then I shaped myself up as a player in the real game. So now I prefer other games.
– Are you satisfied with the stats and your character in NHL?
– It is what it is. I always said that the scores I receive depend on how they evaluate it all. For sure, you always want to be the best. But for now there are better ones. Suppose Vitaly Fridzon were here, he’d say that the ranking in a computer game means nothing to him whereas on a (basketball) court he is the best.
– Were you somehow preparing for the match?
– Well, how can you prepare for it? There is a joystick and 4 buttons, it works just fine.
– The Federation of phygital sport is being established in Russia, its mission is to unite within different sports disciplines eSports and traditional sport. For example, to combine real ice hockey with the virtual game NHL. What do you think about such a format?
– I think right now the whole sports world is gravitating toward a digital format. Why not? You can always try. If there were no interest in it, it would be a different matter. But since there is interest and there are people who take up eSports as professionals and amateurs… I believe it will be very interesting.