NHL hockey player Alexei Yashin has donated an unprecedented $1 million to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa over the next three years.

The donation is the largest gift made by a single donor to the NAC in its 29-year history. Yashin, who recently won an Olympic silver medal with his Russian teammates, is a big fan of the centre.

He is the highest-paid player on the Ottawa Senators, and the 39th-highest paid in the NHL.

Yashin told the Ottawa Citizen he's been looking for something like this to make Canadian people more aware of Russian culture.

Yashin grew up in the former Soviet Union. He started playing for Ottawa in 1993, and is making $4 million this year.