He pushed shopping carts filled with cereal boxes into a second grade-classroom, into the pediatric cancer ward of a hospital, and then he stocked the cereal aisle of a D.C. grocery store. Stanley Cup champion on aisle eight!
Alex Ovechkin’s “Ovi O’s” cereal goes on sale at Giant Food stores throughout the region next week. On Tuesday, he took several reporters and a lot of boxes of cereal on a promotional tour.
He began the trip at the Arlington Traditional School not far from the team’s practice facility in Ballston.
As some-second graders were finishing lunch, Ovechkin came in with a shopping cart full of cereal boxes. “Hi kids! Do you want some Ovi O’s?”
While not everyone recognized him, Ovechkin sat down and started eating cereal with the kids at their desks.
He talked about super heroes and did some math problems for a young girl sitting next to him. And he showed that sharing is caring when he said that he would share his cereal with playground rival Sidney Crosby.
“If he wants it. Yeah, I can sign a box for him.”
At the Giant supermarket in Cathedral Heights in Northwest D.C., he signed a lot of cereal boxes. He also stocked a few boxes on the shelves of aisle 8 (no accident). Then, he walked over to register three and started scanning boxes of cereal that started flying off the shelf.
His time as a cashier and grocery bagger was brief, and made even more complicated when his wife showed up in line.
She did not purchase any cereal because there were already some at home. But she had other items, such as produce, which did not have any bar codes Ovechkin could easily scan.
“I’m mad at her,” he said jokingly. “We tried to do one thing, and she’s bringing lots of different stuff. It’s not good.”
The Washington Capitals captain said that he was nervous when he started his cashier experience.
“It was tough,” he said. “First couple of things, I was nervous,” but when he figured it out, “It was easy.”
In between trips to the school and the grocery store, Ovechkin visited the pediatric cancer wing of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
He was greeted there by a table full of kids who were excited to meet the biggest icon in D.C. sports and have a bowl of cereal with him.
Some of the kids were particularly excited that the cereal is safe for kids with nut allergies.
“They were happy; they were smiling,” Ovechkin said. “Everybody had fun. So it’s all good. That’s why we’re here.”
Proceeds from each box of Ovi O’s, which sells for $2.69 at Giant starting Sept. 17 (his birthday), will help support The Children’s Cancer Foundation.
“I think it was a pretty cool idea,” Ovechkin said. “I think it works well, and I hope we’re going to help out some kids in our community.”
When he arrived in the U.S. as a fresh-faced 20-year-old many years ago, cereal was one of the few things he could recognize at a time when he didn’t know much English.
Back then he never imagined he would end up on the box of his own cereal.
“Not even close,” he said. “But we’re here right now, and we’re going to help kids and help some people. And that’s a good thing.”
So is the cereal that Ovechkin made sure would taste good.
“I had a couple times of tasting and I took the best one,” he said.
The final product will remind a lot of people of Honey Nut Cheerios.
“I don’t like the regular ones,” he said. “I like when it stays good, when you feel the flavor and that’s the most important thing for me.”