One of the perks of winning a professional sports championship in the U.S. is getting honored in a ceremony at the White House. Even though many teams get to experience that honor, it’s rare that a sitting President gets to salute a hometown team.
President Bill Clinton got to welcome the Arkansas Razorbacks to the White House in 1994 when they won the NCAA men’s basketball national championship. President George W. Bush got to honor the San Antonio Spurs at the White House (although he has deeper connections with the Dallas area). President Barack Obama, however, has gotten to honor Chicago teams three times during his administration. He honored the 1985 Chicago Bears in 2011, and has gotten to receive the Chicago Blackhawks twice, with their second visit occurring on Monday.
During his remarks about the team’s remarkable run, the president seemed to take great joy in razzing some of the players, but also was quick with compliments as well. Here were a couple of his more notable comments:
“Duncan Keith had an interesting first round. He scored a goal in game three. Then he flew home to Chicago to be with his wife for the birth of their son, Colton. Then he flew back to Minneapolis the same day, arrived two hours before the drop of the puck, and helped lead the team to a win that put them up 3-1 in the series. And about six weeks later, Colton may have become the youngest person ever to be hoisted by the Cup. That hadn’t happened before.”
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“In Game 6, Andrew Shaw got hit in the face by a puck. It earned him more than a few stitches, but after the game, he decided to make the most of a painful situation. When those stitches came out, he auctioned every one of them off. That does raise the question, like, who’s buying sutures?”
“Speaking of Grant Park, we were originally going to let Corey Crawford say a few words today, but we thought we’d keep this family event family-friendly. You guys have been hanging out with Rahm Emanuel too much.”
That last crack about Crawford elicited knowing chuckles from his Hawks’ teammates, and after the event, Patrick Kane spoke to Mark Lazerus about it:
Duncan Keith Shoots Field Goals at Soldier Field
Patrick Kane on Obama's Corey Crawford crack: "That joke never gets old." #Blackhawks
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) November 4, 2013
The president was also quick to remind the players that the White House isn’t a place for the type of rough-housing that they have become known for:
My favorite moment of #Blackhawks' ceremony at White House was at end when Barack Obama said, "Enjoy the reception. Don’t break anything."
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) November 4, 2013
Obviously, it wouldn’t be a White House visit without the president getting his own personalized jersey. After the 2010 title, Obama received a red home jersey with his last name and the number 44 on it. This time, the team opted for a road white jersey instead:
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 4, 2013
Finally, some reporters got a little too carried away with the festive nature of the visit, as Tracey Myers opted to ham it up for her own camera:
— Tracey Myers (@TramyersCSN) November 4, 2013