WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama had the room roaring with laughter as he welcomed 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Champions the Chicago Blackhawks, joking that their three championship titles since he has been president is not a coincidence.
“For the third time as president, I get to say: Give it up for the Stanley Cup champs – my hometown Chicago Blackhawks,” Obama said.
The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 1934, 1938, 1961, 2010, 2013 and 2015. This season they have a total of 81 points, 38 wins and 18 losses and are leading the Western Conference.
“It would be nice to have – just squeeze one more in there before I leave,” he said. “Because then I definitely will take credit for this amazing championship run.”
Obama said the Stanley cup is the best trophy in sports, adding he wished he could keep the trophy for a day, as each player on the team does.
“And by the way, we’ve got a state dinner with Canada coming up, so we may just have to leave it right in the middle of the room,” he said.
Because the team has been to the White House three times during Obama’s presidency, he said instead of recognizing the “big name players” again, he would recognize a couple of “unsung heroes.”
Obama recognized Kimmo Timonen, 40, who overcame blood clots last year to help win the championship.
He also recognized backup goalie Scott Darling, who paid for a month-long hotel stay for a man he met in Arizona who was “down on his luck.”
“And I think this is reflective of a lot of great work that the Blackhawks are doing as well. Last season, they raised more than $2 million for nonprofits that work with local kids and their families,” Obama said.
McDonough gave Obama a replica of the Stanley Cup. Obama looked at the replica for a few seconds and said it was a lot smaller than he thought it would be.
“This is almost as cool as the version that pops popcorn, that I also still have,” he said. “And it’s high-quality popcorn, I want you to know.”
Obama’s face lit up when Wirtz gave him a parking pass to the United Center, the arena where the Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls play.
“This is the best gift I’ve ever gotten,” Obama said. “This is really cool. … I might sell this on eBay.”
Obama said that, even though the Blackhawks have dominated Chicago sports, he is still cheering for the rest of his hometown professional teams.
“I haven’t given up on the Bulls, or the White Sox, or the Bears, or heck, I’d even take the Cubs,” he said.
Reach reporter Tia Rinehart at tia.Rinehart@scripps.com or 202-408-1490. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
Download photos: Blackhawks.zip