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Alexander Ovechkin to wear custom skates honoring U.S., Russia (pic)

Alexander Ovechkin has consistently stated his love for both his native Russia and the United States. So it is perfectly fitting that the Washington Capitals superstar will pay homage to his homeland and adopted country with a pair of custom skates during Thursday’s home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Believed to be the first time an NHL player has ever donned custom-styled skates, Ovechkin’s feature Moscow’s Saint Basil’s Cathedral and a Russian flag on the left skate. The United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., and an American flag are featured on the right skate.

UniWatch’s Paul Lukas has the inside scoop on the multinational display of patriotism.

“Alex is a very creative person,” said David Abrutyn, Ovechkin’s agent, via ESPN. “It’s no secret that he’s passionate about where he’s from and where he plays, and these designs reflect that.”

Abrutyn was behind the coordinated effort involving the Capitals, the NHL and Bauer to accomplish the design and paint job, which was done by Nicholas “theheyymann” Avery with oversight by Napoleon “Polo” Kerb, well-known individuals in the custom cleats scene now taking over the NFL.

It has also been announced that the skates will be sold at auction to raise money for American Special Hockey Association (ASHA), a cause which Ovechkin holds dear.

What makes the custom cleats take on an even added level of significance, though, is their debut comes amid the deteriorating political relationship between Russia and the U.S., which is at its most tenuous since the end of the Cold War.

Ovechkin recently credited remaining in the middle of the road politically speaking for the ability to navigate playing in the nation’s capital while being a native-born Russian, especially in light of the currently contentious climate.

“I have a good relationship with Russians, and with Americans. So I’m neutral,” Ovechkin said days before the inauguration of Donald Trump.

His custom skates showcase that political philosophy quite well.

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