The Chicago Blackhawks have a couple of days off before facing the Winnipeg Jets, so it was a perfect opportunity to head to the nation's capital to visit President Barack Obama for a celebration of the franchise's latest NHL championship.
Brian Stubits of CBS Sports passed along some comments Obama made during the team's White House visit. He thanked the Blackhawks for bringing two titles to his hometown of Chicago while he was in office:
Since I took office we've hosted a lot of championship teams but since I've been president only one team has brought a championship to my home town of Chicago and now the Blackhawks have done it twice. Twice!
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews spoke about Obama's ties to the city and being able to celebrate the victory with him, via NHL.com's Dan Rosen:
Everyone knows the President is a huge sports fan and he's a proud Chicagoan as well. We had his support in the Cup run and it's nice to be here at the White House and spend the day with him.
Obama also jokingly sent a verbal right hook in the direction of goaltender Corey Crawford, who infamously let some choice words fly during the team's parade:
Speaking of Grant Park we were originally going to let Corey Crawford say a few words today but ... we thought we'd keep this event family friendly. You guys have been hanging out with Rahm Emanuel too much!
He went on to provide a message of encouragement to his other hometown teams, saying he's waiting for them to visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:
"To the Bulls, the Bears, the White Sox, and even the Cubs—I’m term-limited, so I want to see you all here soon." —Obama #SweetHomeChicago— White House Live (@WHLive) November 4, 2013
Before meeting with Obama, the Blackhawks were able to hang out in the White House and snap a couple of photos. Marian Hossa celebrated with the Stanley Cup in the East Room, which was posted on the team's Instagram:
While in town, the team also took the opportunity to visit Walter Reed National Military Medical Center:
Getting a chance to visit the White House is one of the perks of winning a championship. The Blackhawks have now done it twice in the past four years and are a definite contender to make another trip next year after a strong start to this season.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman observed how Chicago's recent success has helped shape the city into a hockey town, via Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune:
NHL commish Gary Bettman: "It’s frankly astounding, remarkable and exciting to see how Chicago has once again turned into a hockey town."— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) November 4, 2013
Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times says winger Patrick Kane is even starting to get to know Obama on a first-name basis:
Kane also commented on an awkward moment during the ceremony as the president shook hands with the team, via NHL.com:
Some of the guys were laughing at me because he was moving pretty quick down the line and I was next to [Blackhawks Chairman] Rocky Wirtz and he shook his hand pretty quick," Kane said. "I put my hand out too quick while he was still talking to Rocky so my hand was out there waiting for him to shake my hand. It was a pretty funny moment.
Perhaps that's one of the advantages of being a two-time champion; moments like that aren't a big deal. Chalk up another memorable day for the Blackhawks.