Alex Ovechkin wrapped his arms around Ted Leonsis, pressing his head against the Capitals owner’s chest in unbridled joy and gratitude. Nicklas Backstrom got goosebumps. T.J. Oshie was more spellbound than he thought he would be.
“It was bright, it was shiny, it was really cool,” Oshie said. “When you grow up, you really only think about the [Stanley] Cup really. I didn’t know when the ring ceremony was, and you just kind of forget about it really. Then we had it, and what an amazing job that Ted did and the amount of rings he bought for everyone who was involved. The ring is amazing.”
The morning after the Capitals received the rings in a ceremony, Oshie showed his to his two daughters. Lyla, the older of the two, wanted to wear it. Oshie joked that his younger daughter, Leni, nearly broke it. Wives and girlfriends of the players received the top of the ring as a pendant.
“Something I never really thought about was that the Cup – hopefully it stays with us – eventually will move on to the next team, but the rings are something that you get to keep forever and pass down to hopefully my kids one day and to their kids after that,” Oshie said.
Jennifer Duerre, Josten’s director of sports marketing and professional partnerships, said the ring was unique in its large size relative to other NHL teams commemorating their championships. Leonsis and his wife, Lynn, were heavily involved in the design process.
“He said that she had more taste than anyone he knew, so it was really wonderful,” Duerre said. “I think probably with the two of them, it was probably a labor of love for them and how they felt about the organization.”
It’s heavy, too. The ring is made of 14-karat white and yellow gold and features 230 round diamonds, as well as 22 princess cut diamonds, for a carat weight of 5.5. Twenty-eight custom taper-cut rubies create the red circle in the Capitals logo at the top of the ring, and a star-shaped sapphire brings the precious stone weight to 10.2 carats.
The right side of the ring has “WASHINGTON DC” printed on it, and Duerre said that would typically be for a team name. But Leonsis wanted to honor the city, which is why the left side also has the U.S. Capitol building etched in white gold. The player’s number is to the right of that and set with diamonds. The gold accents against the diamonds and white gold are “very on-trend right now, mixed metals are, in championship rings,” Duerre said.
The three star-shaped rubies were cut and shaped from a ruby tablet, Duerre said. They were placed on the ring's right side, bookending a diamond depiction of the Stanley Cup to signify the Capitals’ two Eastern Conference championships (1998 and last season). The third ruby, representing Washington’s franchise-first Stanley Cup, appropriately sits on top of the trophy.
The player’s name appears on the left side of the ring above a 14-karat white gold Capitol building flanked by a star-shaped ruby and star-shaped sapphire. The player’s number, which is set with seven to 18 diamonds, appears to the right of the Capitol building.
The inside of the ring is engraved with the Capitals' logo and the logos of the four teams Washington defeated en route to winning the Stanley Cup, along with the results of each best-of-seven series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights, whom the Capitals defeated in the Stanley Cup finals.
A replica of Ovechkin’s ring will be displayed in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
“I came to the league and [Leonsis] said, ‘One day, we’re going to win the Cup,’” Ovechkin said. “I think we’re waiting too long, 13 years, to finally touch the Cup, kiss the Cup and it was a special moment for us. We have a very good relationship with Ted and his family, and it’s a special moment. …
“I hope I’m not going to lose [the ring], but you never know.”