Ilya Kovalchuk is a professional ice hockey player who serves in left-wing positions. He is currently an unrestricted free agent.
In the field of ice hockey, Ilya Kovalchuk is not a new name as he has already played 13 seasons in the NHL.
Atlanta Thrashers drafted Kovalchuck as a first overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, making him the first Russian to do so. Kovalchuck spent his first seven seasons with the Thrashers.
Kovalchuck is a fast and complete hockey player who is hard to read on and off the puck.
In addition, he is a three-time Gagarin Cup winner and the 2015 Gagarin Cup playoffs MVP in the KHL.
Likewise, he is an NHL all-star and Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner. Additionally, he won a Kharlamov Trophy and World Championship leading scorer.
Besides that, he holds the record for most shootout goals and game-deciding shootout goals in a single season.
Here, we will talk about his career and his personal life, net worth, and many more.
But before getting into more details. Let’s go through Illya’s quick facts.
|Full name||Ilya Valeryevich Kovalchuk|
|Birth Date||April 15, 1983|
|Birth Place||Kalinin (now Tver), Russia|
|Education||Russian State University|
|Father’s Name||Valeri Kovalchuk|
|Mother’s Name||Luba Kovalchuk|
|Siblings||1; Arina Kovalchuk|
|Age||40 Years Old|
|Height||6ft 3in (191 cm)|
|Weight||227 lb (103 kg)|
|Hair Color||Dark Brown|
|Eye Color||Dark Brown|
|Profession||Ice Hockey Player|
|Wife||Nicole Andrazajtis Kovalchuk|
|Kids||4; Karolina (2004) , Eva (2015), Philipp (2009), Artem(2010)|
|Net Worth||$60 million|
|Social Media||Not available|
|Last Update||June, 2023|
Ilya Kovalchuk | Early Life, Family, and Education
The Ice hockey player was born in Kalinin (now known as Tver) as the second child of Valeri and Lyubok Kovalchuk. Talking about Ilya’s parents, his father, Valeri Kovalchuck, was a basketball player in Tver.
And after retirement, he turned into a coach and also became the head of the sports school at the Spartak Olympic reserve.
In addition, he even wrote a book about Ilya Kovalchuk’s development as a hockey player called “From Tver to Atlanta.” Unfortunately, he died in 2005 after publishing the book 2004.
Meanwhile, his mother Lyubov was the head of the polyclinic of the Tver city hospital.
His father, being an athlete himself, sent his son to the hockey field of his friend and coach Viktor Zhukov.
He also taught him in his spare time and took Ilya to Moscow hockey matches.
His father’s practice helped Kovalchuk master wrist blow, which became his distinguishing feature.
Kovalchuk studied in an ordinary school until fifth grade and then transferred to a sports school.
During his studies also, he continued to take part in various tournaments, including All-Russian competitions as a part of a team of Tver.
His excellent performance of scoring 33 goals at the tournament in 1993 earned him an invite from Moscow “Dynamo.”
In addition, Kovalchuck was recognized as the top player after he scored 22 goals for the children’s team Spartak at the competition in Minnesota of the USA.
Ilya Kovalchuk | Height and Weight
The Russian Hockey player stands 6 feet and 3 inches tall, weighing 227 lb or 103 kg.
His name was kept Ilya in honor of legendary figure Ilya Mourmets so that he grows as strong and healthy.
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Ilya Kovalchuk | Professional Career
Kovalchuk started his career very early in his life. He first signed his professional contract as a youth with Moscow “Spartak” just at the age of 16.
He played in the 1997 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with Spartak.
In 2000, the team participated in the Challenge Cup in Canada for under 17, where he became the best player in the championship.
And in the same year, Kovalchuk won the silver in the junior team. The following year he won the gold with the team and the best striker title.
The team played in the Premier League, and his performance caught the eye of the NHL representatives.
He played for Vysshaya Liga club Spartak Moscow for two seasons before entering the NHL Draft in 2001.
Atlanta Thrashers drafted Kovalchuk as the first overall pick of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.
In addition, he became the first Russian drafted as the first overall pick in the NHL’s history.
His NHL rookie season with the Thrashers started in 2001-02, where Kovalchuk scored 29 goals and 51 points.
In addition, he missed 17 games with a shoulder injury that ended his rookie season.
Hence, he finished second for the Calder Memorial as NHL rookie of the year, with his teammate Dany Heatley taking the first spot.
Next season, he scored 38 goals and 67 points for the Thrashers, which increased to 41 goals in the 2003-04 season.
He then became the co-winner of the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy after tying for the spot as a lead NHL goal scorer with Jarome Iginla of Calgary Flames and Rick Nash of Columbus Blue Jackets.
In 2004, he participated in NHL All-star Game for the first time. Kovalchuk continued his brilliant performance in the 2005-06 season, scoring 98 points with 52 goals and 46 passes. He also became the first Thrasher player to score 50 goals in a season.
He was stable for many seasons at the leading positions in the rating of the best scorers. And for the first time in Kovalchuk’s career, his point production dropped in the 2006-07 season.
Despite that, the Thrashers qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
He also became the captain of the Thrashers team after the departure of Bobby Hoik to the New Jersey Devils.
Later, Kovalchuk was traded to the New Jersey Devils in the final year of his contract, where he played for three seasons and even won the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2011-12 season.
Return to KHL
Kovalchuk became an unrestricted free agent and agreed to a 17-year, $102 million deal to remain with the Devils, but NHL blocked the deal and also a 15-year, $100 million deal that penalized the Devils.
As a result, Kovalchuk played with the Devils for only four seasons and later announced to leave the American club and return to his homeland.
He joined SKA Saint Petersburg of KHL, where he played for 6 seasons as the team’s captain and helped the team win the Gagarin Cup in 2014-15 and 2016-17.
In addition, he became the MVP of the 2015 Gagarin Cup playoffs.
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Back to NHL
Kovalchuk returned to NHL once again and played with Los Angeles Kings for a season after his return.
Later, he played with Montreal Canadiens on a one-year, two-way league minimum contract on 3 January 2020.
Just over a month later, Montreal traded him to Washington Capitals, where he played for the last time in NHL.
Kovalchuk returned to the KHL for the 2020-21 season and played for the Avangard Omsk on a two-year contract, and won Gagarin Cup.
Later he and Avangard terminate his contract on mutual agreement.
The hockey player won his silver and gold medals in 2000 and 2001, respectively, for Russia in the IIHF World U18 Championships.
Kovalchuk made his senior international debut at the 2002 Winter Olympics and helped the team to win a bronze medal.
He helped the team win a gold medal at IIHF World Championship in 2008, scoring two goals in the final against Team Canada.
His one goal helped the team tie the game and force overtime, while the other goal became the game-winner for the championship.
Next year he led Russia to the second straight gold medal against Team Canada in the IIHF World Championship and also became the MVP of the tournament.
He later went on to win silver for Russia at the championship in 2010 and 2015. In addition, he served as captain of the team at the 2015 championship.
Awards and Achievements
Here are some of the achievements he made in his career till now:
- Three-time KHL all-star Game 2013, 2014, 2015
- Three-time Gagarin Cup Winner 2015, 2017, and 2021 with SKA Saint Petersburg and Avangard Omsk.
- NHL All-Rookie Team 2002, First All-Star team 2012.
- MVP of 2002 NHL YoungStars Game
- Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy and Kharlamov Trophy winner of 2003-04 NHL season
- Goal Scoring Leader for 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs
- Prince of Wales Trophy winner 2012
Ilya Kovalchuk | Relationship
Kovalchuk met his beautiful spouse Nicole Andrazjtis in 2002 through a mutual friend. Nicole is a singer by profession and is very popular in Russia. She was part of a group called Mirage.
They dated for six years and married in 2008 at the Church of Dormition in Russia. They have four children together.
Their first child (a daughter), was named Karolina. She was born in 2006. Then they had sons Philipp and Artem, who were born in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Lastly, they had a daughter, and they named her Eva, who was born in 2015.
Ilya Kovalchuk | Net Worth, Salary
The hockey player has played for about 22 years since 1999 in this field. Hence, he has hugely succeeded and collected a huge net worth under his belt.
According to the source, his net worth is estimated to be $60 million.
In 2018 Ilya signed a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings that came with a $6.3 million average annual salary.
Likewise, Ilya had a 22,000-square-foot mansion in New Jersey that he put up for sale for $17.99 million.
Recently, Ilya owned $11.2 million on a home in Beverly Hills, California, in January 2020.
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Ilya Kovalchuk | Social Media
The 40-year-old hockey player is very active on social media. He has an Instagram account with 434k followers as of 2021.
The player shares cute pictures of his family along with some videos of his travel with them.
He also owns dogs, and he often shares pictures with them. He is very fond of adventures which can be seen through his pictures.
Kovalchuk also shares pictures and videos related to ice hockey. He also posts pictures with his friends and teammates.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why did Ilya Kovalchuk retire?
Ilya retired after NHL’s huge 15-year deal controversy to return to his home. However, he returned to NHL again after playing in KHL from 2013-18, but he recently left NHL and returned to Russia.
Does Ilya Kovalchuk have a Stanley Cup?
Ilya Kovalchuk played 13 seasons for NHL but never won the Stanley Cup. The closest he went was when he won Eastern Conference Finals with New Jersey Devils in 2012 and met Los Angeles Kings for the Stanley Cup.
Is Kovalchuk still in NHL?
No, Kovalchuk left NHL and joined Avangard Omsk of the KHL. But he recently left Omsk on mutual agreement and is now an unrestricted free agent.