Fatima Al Ali’s neat trick with a hockey stick landed her a meet-and-greet with a top American team.
Nike may have just tapped two Emirati sportswomen for its latest inspirational campaign, but we’ve got a third it should add to its roster.
Fatima Al Ali is an Abu Dhabi-based ice hockey player, coach and referee who just won herself a fan in a world-class athlete.
Al Ali’s ability to twirl a puck on her hockey stick caught the eye of US hockey player Peter Bondra while he was in the UAE capital coaching at the Zayed Sports Ice Rink.
The former Washington Capitals all-star shared a video of Al Ali’s trick on his Twitter page, stating “it’s safe to say she has better hands than me”.
— Peter Bondra (@PeterBondra12) November 13, 2016
After seeing the stunt, the Capitals invited Al Ali all the way to the States to meet the team – including her favourite player, Alex Ovechkin.
The Emirati was given the honour of making the ceremonial puck drop at a game over the weekend, and she used the opportunity to quickly snap a selfie with the players.
“I was like, ‘Can I do it or not?’” Al Ali told NHL.com of her photo with Ovechkin and Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg. “It was just an idea. I’m happy it worked.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 10, 2017
The 27-year-old, who is now back in the UAE, has since called the trip “the best experience of my life”.
“It’s better than a dream,” she told CBS News.
Sad to say that I’m going home had an amazing time in DC with a busy week filled with #hockey & #basketball got to meet the #players be on the #ice with them got to watch the warm up from the #bench & drop the #puck 🏒 Thanks guys for meeting me & making it the best experience of my #life & hope to see you soon ❤ Go Caps! @ovi8 @backstrom19 @tom_wilso @justinwilliams @nate schmidt @kuzya92 #selfies #WashingtonCapitals #capitals #hockeylife #enjoylife #washingtondc #caps #usa #fatima_al_ali
Al Ali also told NHL.com that she hopes her story will inspire other Muslim women.
“I hope set a good example for them and if they have a dream just follow it,” she said. “There’s nothing that can stop them.
“You have something in your head, you have something you want to do, just go for it. Who can stop you?”
Image: Fatima Al Ali/Instagram