Washington Capitals host UAE women's hockey star

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Photo of Fatima Al Ali and Alex Ovecgkin tweeted by Washington Capitals.
Photo of Fatima Al Ali and Alex Ovecgkin tweeted by Washington Capitals.

Fatima Al Ali, the stickhandling star from the UAE, made her way to Washington Capitals practice Wednesday to take the ice as part of a trip hosted by the team this week.

Al Ali plays on the UAE’s women’s hockey team and her voyage to Washington was in conjunction with the NHL’s Hockey Is For Everyone month. On Tuesday night, Al Ali was in the Verizon Center suite of owner Ted Leonsis as she watched the Capitals defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-0.

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After the game she got to meet the team including superstar Alex Ovechkin. Her reaction to seeing him up-close and in-person for the first time was priceless.

That feeling when you fly across the world from the UAE and get to meet your favorite hockey player! #CapsHIFE

A photo posted by Monumental Sports Network (@monsportsnet) on Feb 7, 2017 at 7:31pm PST

When she took the ice Wednesday, she received one-timers from Ovechkin.

The Capitals’ superstar also tried Al Ali’s stickhandling trick but struggled.

She also compared her skills with center Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Al Ali will drop the ceremonial first puck at Washington’s home game Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings. She already went to a Washington Wizards game Monday and visited the UAE embassy.

Al Ali met former Washington superstar Peter Bondra at a youth hockey camp he coached for Pavlikovsky Hockey School at the Zayed Sports Ice Rink in Abu Dhabi from Nov. 13-14 in conjunction with Monumental Sports Global Academies.

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This was before a tournament he played there with a bunch of Slovakian former NHLers. Al Ali wasn’t part of the camp but she was around the rink and at first she started talking to members of Bondra’s camera crew from Monumental Sports. Then after she stepped on the ice with no skates and started doing tricks with the puck and Bondra took out his phone and shot a video to post on social media.

Al Ali was also a referee at the tournament Bondra played. At the event they chit-chatted a bit and Bondra found out that Al Ali’s favorite hockey player was Ovechkin and that her favorite team was the Caps.

After Bondra returned to home he found out that the Capitals and Etihad Airways had figured out a way to get her to the United States in February to watch the Caps and visit Washington. He then Skype called her to give her the news, and she broke into tears.

“It feels good. I feel good about this whole thing,” Bondra said to Puck Daddy in December. “We did something good and definitely she deserves the invitation. I think she accepted the invitation, which is good. It’s good for her. You can see how much love for the game she has. I know she was emotionally excited about it and she texted me a couple of times after the Skype call and she couldn’t thank me enough for the Capitals or Etihad as well for making her dreams come true.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!