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IMG Ovechkin banner at entrance to World Congress of Sports

Last week Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin helped welcome me to the IMG World Congress of Sports at LA Live in Los Angeles.

Actually, Ovechkin was still serving his 2-game suspension while traveling with his team, but it still felt awesome to head into the SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily hosted event.

IMG, the title sponsor for WCOS, has represented Ovechkin since November 2, 2009 (read press release here) for exclusive worldwide management, sponsorship, licensing and marketing representation.

Seeing the Ovechkin banner next to the likes of tennis star Maria Sharapova and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, was very exciting and helps put into perspective how far he and the NHL have come since the lockout.

The absolute irony of this was only about 10 steps away. Getty Images had framed and showcased about 10 incredible shots their photographers had captured during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The last one in the line was of Team Canada and Penguins center Sidney Crosby celebrating his game-winning overtime goal of the gold medal match-up.

I find it funny (or maybe frustrating?) how you can’t tend to see one of these guys without the other popping up. They are both deserving, even if I’m completely biased on who I’d rather see.

Either way it was exciting to see Ovi being promoted at the biggest and most exclusive sports business conference there is. The additional off-ice push from IMG will only continue to explode the Ovechkin brand across the planet.

And hopefully this means Ovi’s street wear clothing line (CCM/Reebok) will be a little easier to obtain in the coming year.