IMG signs hockey superstar Alexander Ovechkin

NEW YORK, Nov. 2 /CNW/ - IMG Worldwide, the premier global sports, media and entertainment company, announced today that it has signed hockey superstar Alex Ovechkin, for exclusive worldwide management, sponsorship, licensing and marketing representation.

Ovechkin, the 24 year-old Washington Capitals left wing, is one of the most talented and exciting players in the game today. Since bursting onto the scene in 2005, he has taken the NHL by storm, winning the Hart Memorial Trophy for Most Valuable Player for the past two seasons. He has also won the Lester B Pearson Award for 2008 and 2009 naming him MVP as voted on by his fellow players. He is only the fourth player in history to score more than 200 goals in the first four years of his career joining hockey icons Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Mike Bossy. In July of this year, he was named "Official Ambassador" to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

"We are very pleased to welcome Alex to the global team at IMG," said David Abrutyn, IMG's Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Global Consulting. "He is clearly one of the world's greatest athletes and one of the NHL's brightest stars. His electrifying play and charismatic personality will make him one of the most sought after athletes for companies and brands to grow their business. We are looking forward to working with Alex and his family, the Capitals and NHL to build the Ovechkin brand and the game of hockey around the world."

"As one of the most exciting players the game of hockey has seen, Alexander has captured the imagination of fans around the globe and he is well on his way to establishing himself as one of the world's great sports icons," said Brad Pelletier, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of IMG Canada. "The excitement and personality he brings to the game is not only great for hockey, but also for his personal brand, which we look forward to working with him to grow around the world."

Pelletier and Abrutyn will manage the global team at IMG that will support Ovechkin's business.

"I am very happy to become part of the IMG family," Ovechkin said. "It is an honor to join the list of some of the world's iconic athletes that IMG represents. I'm excited to have them handling the off-ice business aspects of my career."

Ovechkin, the son of Mikhail Ovechkin, a former professional soccer player, and Tatiana Ovechkin, a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist with the Soviet basketball team, was born in Moscow in 1985. Ovechkin enjoyed an outstanding Junior career where at age 17 he became the youngest player ever to play and score for the Russian National Team. He was subsequently named Captain of the Junior Russian National team at age 18 and at 19 was named to the Russian National team for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, the youngest player in the tournament.

He was the first overall draft choice in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, going to the Washington Capitals. He led the 2005-2006 NHL rookies in goals, points, power-play goals and shots and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team, the first rookie to receive the honor in 15 years. After the season ended he received the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL's best rookie.

Following the 2008-2009 season he was awarded his fourth consecutive Kharlamov Trophy, honoring the best Russian NHL player as voted by other Russian NHL players. He finished the 2007-2008 season as the NHL leader in points (112) and goals (65), winning the Art Ross Trophy and the Rocket Richard Trophy, respectively. It was the first time in 41 seasons that a left-winger led the NHL in points and established an NHL record for goals by a left wing.

Ovechkin finished the 2008-09 NHL Season with 56 goals, winning his second Rocket Richard Trophy in as many years, joining Jarome Iginla and Pavel Bure as the third player to win the award twice, and the second player after Bure (2000-2001) to win the award in back-to-back seasons.

About IMG Sports & Entertainment

Operating in 30 countries, IMG Sports & Entertainment's diverse businesses include: product and brand licensing; consulting services; event ownership and management; collegiate marketing, media and licensing; fashion events and models representation; golf course design; and client representation in golf, tennis, broadcasting, speakers, European football, rugby, cricket, motor sports, coaching, Olympic and action sports. IMG Academies are the world's largest, multi-sport training and educational facilities, delivering world-class training experiences to more than 12,000 junior, collegiate, adult, and professional athletes each year. More information is available at www.imgworld.com.

For further information: Dave Haggith, IMG Canada, Tel: (416) 629-6474, E-mail: dave.haggith@imgworld.com