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Alex Ovechkin hits the ice with 80 youth hockey players in Arlington

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin hits the ice with players from the American Special Hockey Association. Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (ABC7 photo)

For a group of about 80 very special hockey players, hitting the ice on Tuesday wasn’t any ordinary practice.

“Hey, what’s up?” said Washington Capital, Alex Ovechkin, as he fist pounded one of the players.

“He inspired me to play hockey,” said 15-year-old Ann Schaab, who plays for the Washington Ice Dogs.

The players are all a part of the American Special Hockey Association.

“They’ve been waiting all summer long for this day!” said Jen O’Brien with the American Special Hockey Association.

“I skated with him,” Schaab said. “It was my happy time with him.”

It was a happy time for so many, with smiles stretching across the rink.

“When you see their reaction, that’s the most exciting thing,” Ovechkin said.

“Every time a kid hits the ice when everybody thought they couldn’t do it, or they labeled them as disabled when they are perfectly able to be a part of it all—every time they come out, it lifts your spirit, it restores your faith a little bit,” O’Brien said.

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