The Washington Capitals are set to visit President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday to celebrate their 2018 Stanley Cup championship.
The Caps secured the franchise's first title by ending the Vegas Golden Knights' miraculous expansion-year run to the Stanley Cup Final in five games. It represented the last missing piece in the Hall of Fame resume of superstar sniper Alex Ovechkin.
Whether individual players will join their team at the White House has become a pressing question during a time of heightened political disputes. Most members of Washington's roster said they planned to attend in the aftermath of their Cup triumph last June, per Khurshudyan.
Winger Devante Smith-Pelly told Michael Traikos of the National Post he was likely going to skip the event because he disagreed with Trump's rhetoric.
"The things that he spews are straight-up racist and sexist," he said. "Some of the things he's said are pretty gross. I'm not too into politics, so I don't know all his other views, but his rhetoric I definitely don't agree with. It hasn't come up here, but I think I already have my mind made up."
Smith-Pelly is no longer an active member of the Capitals roster, though. He was sent to the minors after clearing waivers in February.
Caps forward Brett Connolly said in August he also wasn't planning to attend the White House gathering but noted the decision had "nothing to do with politics," per ESPN's Emily Kaplan.
The NFL's Philadelphia Eagles and NBA's Golden State Warriors have decided against a White House visit in recent years.
College football's Clemson Tigers became the focus of national headlines in January after Trump opted to serve them a variety of fast-food options during the government shutdown.
Meanwhile, members of MLB's Boston Red Sox are scheduled to meet with the President on May 9.