Ilya Kovalchuk is a forward who begun playing ice hockey in Tver, before being offered a contract by Spartak Moscow with whom he begun his professional career in 1998. In the 1999/2000 season he played in Spartak's first team. Two years later at the 2001 NHL Draft, Ilya became the first Russian player in history who was picked first. For the 2001/2002 season he played with the Atlanta Thrashers, and he spent eight campaigns with the club. In 2009 he even became the team's captain. In 2004 he won the Maurice Richard Trophy, an award given to the NHL's top scorer, and in that same year he was awarded with the Kharlamov Trophy, which is given to the best Russian player of the NHL. When there was a lockout in the 2004/2005 season he returned to play in Russia to play with Ak Bars Kazan. He began the following season with Khimik before leaving for America again. In 2004, 2008 and 2009 Ilya took part in the NHL All-Star Game. Later in 2010 he was traded to the New Jersey Devils, where in 2012 he was a finalist of the Stanley Cup playoffs. When there was another NHL lockout in the 2012/2013 season he came to play for SKA, and after returning to America he signed a full contract with SKA in the summer of 2013. With SKA Ilya has won the Continental Cup and a KHL bronze medal both in 2013, and he has taken part in the KHL All-Star Game in 2013, 2014 and 2015 as captain of the West. In season 2014/2015 he got Russian Championship's silver medals and became the Gagarin Cup holder. Ilya started playing internationally in 1999 and 2000, and he won silver at the World Youth Championship in 2000. A year later he won that very same tournament, and he was named the best forward of that championship. It didn't take him long to establish himself with the main national team though, and he won a bronze medal at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. He has been a part of Russia's Olympic team a further three times, the latest being in 2014. He was won the World Championship twice, in 2008 and 2009, won the silver of that tournament in 2010 and claimed a bronze medal in 2005 and 2007. In the 2008 World Championship final, he scored the two deciding goals against Canada. A year later in the 2009 edition, he was named the tournament MVP. Ilya has been honoured with the Russian Master of Sports title, as well as the Merits before the Fatherland award. In 2015 gained silver medals of the World Championship.