After the Tampa Bay Lightning won their second consecutive Stanley Cup in 2018, they visited President Joe Biden at the White House. The long time hockey fan was full of praise for the team and honored them by giving an official proclamation.
The “nhl champions” is a headline that covers the President Joe Biden honoring Tampa Bay Lightning at White House for winning past 2 Stanley Cups.
WASHINGTON, DC – President Joe Biden joked that after 14 seasons in the NHL, Steven Stamkos was getting old, commended the Tampa Bay Lightning’s vaccination efforts, and avoided politics while congratulating the club for winning the Stanley Cup in each of the last two seasons.
In a rare break from his administration’s response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, President Barack Obama mentioned first lady Jill Biden’s attendance at a vaccination event at the Lightning’s home arena last year and congratulated the team on winning two pandemic championships: one in an empty building in a quarantined bubble and the other in front of a packed house in Tampa, Florida.
“I’m not claiming that the presence of the first lady at your arena during the playoffs was the reason you won,” Biden remarked, smiling. “But just stating that she was present throughout the election season. She always appears when someone wins. Just some food for thought.”
While discussing the Lightning’s back-to-back championship campaigns, Biden made no mention of players other than Stamkos, who were highly reliant on Russian goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy, forward Nikita Kucherov, and defender Mikhail Sergachev. Last year’s playoff MVP was Vasilevskiy, while Kucherov was the leading scorer in both round.
On the South Lawn of the White House, US President Joe Biden recognized the Tampa Bay Lightning for winning the Stanley Cup in each of the previous two seasons. courtesy of Getty Images
All three players were in attendance, and Sergachev posted images of them on social media from around the White House. There were no notable absences, and a few players who had left or retired from the Lightning’s 2020 championship squad made appearances.
The squad traveled to the nation’s capital for the third time in eight months, having already visited the Washington Capitals twice this season. The Lightning traveled home late Sunday night following a game against the Florida Panthers, and will face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday in one of their last regular-season games before the playoffs begin next week.
“Pretty much everyone was on board, and everyone who could make it here — previous players and things — they all tried to make it here,” said alternative captain Ryan McDonagh. “It’s simply a beautiful tradition that we have: you become a championship team, you get to travel to the White House, and you get to meet the president.”
Despite winning the Stanley Cup three times (in 2004, 2020, and 2021), it was the Lightning’s first visit to the White House with a serving president. The NHL lockout in 2004-05 prevented the team from travelling, and the pandemic postponed the chance until nine months after the second of these back-to-back titles.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Stamkos remarked. “We weren’t sure we’d get this chance, but it was definitely worth the wait.”
Stamkos, a Canadian, deferred to McDonagh, a Minnesota native, to speak on the team’s behalf during the event. Biden asking the players and coach Jon Cooper, who were wearing both Cup rings, into the Oval Office to speak afterward left them speechless.
Cooper, who is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, stated, “In the position he’s in [being] the leader of the free world and all that stuff, he has an unbelievable ability to wash that ego away and just be a human being like he was one of our teammates.” “I was tempted to get greedy and sit down with this man on a barstool with a drink and listen to his life story. It’s easy to see why he was elected president.”
Biden scored some more brownie points by praising the Tampa Bay region for the Rays’ World Series appearance in 2020 and the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl victory a year later. “Who knows,” he remarked, adding that the Lightning “may be here next year.”
The Lightning are back among the NHL’s elite teams, and they’re aiming to become the first club since the early 1980s’ New York Islanders dynasty to win the Cup three years in a row.
“The beautiful thing about our group is that the appetite remains,” McDonagh added. “We don’t need any more incentive, but this definitely adds to the excitement as we approach the last week of the regular season and the start of the playoffs.”
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