Washington Capitals Star Ovechkin Starts ‘Team Putin’ Movement to Back Russian Leader

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) holds a certificate along with Russian national ice hockey team member Alexander Ovechkin (2nd L) / Getty

One of the NHL's biggest stars has started a new social movement dedicated to supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Alexander Ovechkin, captain of the Washington Capitals, started the "Team Putin" movement to back the Kremlin leader.

Ovechkin, a Russian, announced his new initiative in an Instagram post on Thursday that the Washington Post translated and reported.

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Личные награды и призы – все это здорово, но в хоккее, как и в любом деле, для победы важнее команда. Только команда способна переломить ход игры, сделать невозможное. В последнее время в западной прессе я встречаю сочетание Putin’s team, то есть команда Путина. И знаете, мне очень понравилось это определение. Лично я готов быть частью такой команды. Я никогда не скрывал своего отношения к нашему Президенту, всегда открыто его поддерживая. Я уверен, что нас, поддерживающих Владимира Путина, много! Так давайте объединимся и покажем всем сильную и сплоченную Россию! Сегодня я хочу объявить о том, что создаю общественное движение под названием Putin Team. Быть частью такой команды – для меня гордость, это похоже на ощущение, когда ты надеваешь майку сборной России, зная, что за тебя болеет вся страна. #putinteam

A post shared by Alexander Ovechkin (@aleksandrovechkinofficial) on

"Personal achievements and medals—all of this great, but in hockey, like with everything, to win it's important to have a team," Ovechkin wrote. "Only a team is capable of changing the course of a game, achieve the impossible. Lately, in the Western Press, I'm noticing a comparison to Putin's team. And you know, I really liked that comparison. Personally, I'm ready to be a member of that team. I never hid my relationship with our president, always openly supported him."

"I'm certain that there are many of us that support Vladimir Putin," the hockey star added. "Let's unite and show everyone a strong and united Russia. Today, I want to announce a social movement in the name of Putin Team. Be a part of this team—to me it's a privilege, it's like the feeling of when you put on the jersey of the Russian team, knowing that the whole country is rooting for you."

Ovechkin did not say that his movement is meant to help Putin get reelected, though Russia will hold a presidential election in March. Putin has not formally announced he will seek reelection, but he is expected to seek a new six-year term.

Ovechkin has previously shown his support for Putin on social media and plays for Russia in the Winter Olympics and other international hockey tournaments.

Disclaimer: The author of this post is a diehard Chicago Blackhawks fan. Go Hawks!