Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–November 4, 2013 – 2:15 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Please, everybody, have a seat. (Applause.) It is my pleasure to welcome back the Chicago Blackhawks to the White House. (Applause.) We have some very proud Blackhawks fans here. A couple I want to point out in particular — Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois — (applause) –and Congressman Mike Quigley, who actually still has an old man’s hockey game that he’s in all the time. (Laughter.) Any false teeth, Mike? Just a couple, all right. But this guy is a serious hockey player. So, Mike Quigley. (Applause.)
Now, since I took office, we’ve hosted a lot of championship teams — from Boston and New York; Pittsburgh and Miami. But since I’ve been President, only one team has brought a world championship to my hometown of Chicago. And now the Blackhawks have done it twice. (Applause.) Twice!
Three years ago, the ‘Hawks won their first Stanley Cup in 49 years. And keep in mind, the Cubs have been waiting for 105 — (laughter) — so 49 might have not seemed so bad. But luckily, the second Stanley Cup came just a little bit quicker.
From the very beginning of last season, when these guys won their first six games in a row, we had a feeling that this was a team on the move. And we were right.
With Coach Q behind the bench, the ‘Hawks dominated the regular season. In the playoffs, Captain Jonathan Toews led the team all the way for the second time — and he’s still only, by the way, 25 years old. Now, I don’t remember everything I was doing when I was 25, but I wasn’t doing that. (Laughter.) That, I’m pretty certain of. Incredible leadership on his part.
Patrick Kane, the playoff MVP, helped to send this team to the finals in an incredible double overtime. (Applause.) I will say some of the games were just stressful, though. (Laughter.) I was getting a little tense.
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, 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. (Laughter.) That hadn’t happened before.
And finally, we’ve got Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland. With less than two minutes left in game six of the finals — the ‘Hawks down by just one goal — teamed up to score two goals in just 17 seconds to bring the Cup back to Chicago — 17 seconds. (Applause.) That’s the kind of clutch performance that would make Jordan proud, which is why the statue was wearing a Blackhawks jersey during the playoffs.
So this team is a great example of what Chicago is all about. It’s not just, by the way, because of what they’ve done on the ice. In game six, 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 best of a painful situation. When those stitches came out, he auctioned every one of them off. (Laughter.) That does raise the question, like, who’s buying sutures? (Laughter.) Somebody bid on this stuff. He raised almost $20,000 for the V Foundation to help cancer research.
And he’s not the only guy with a big heart back here. This morning, the entire team paid a visit to our wounded warriors at Walter Reed, helping to raise the spirits of men and women who have sacrificed so much for this country. And when I had a chance to have some of our wounded warriors in the room with these guys beforehand, I said, I love the Blackhawks, I love all my sports teams, but obviously our best team, our most important team are those folks who every day serve us in uniform and keep us free. So we really just are grateful to them. (Applause.)
So these are not just good hockey players, they’re good guys. And that helps explain why 2 million Chicago fans came out to Grant Park to celebrate bringing home the Cup. Speaking of Grant Park, we were originally going to let Corey Crawford say a few words today — (laughter) — but we thought we’d keep this family event family-friendly. (Laughter.) You guys have been hanging out with Rahm Emanuel too much. (Laughter.)
So congratulations again to the Blackhawks. To the Bulls, Bears, Cubs, White Sox — I am term-limited, so you guys have got to get moving. I need to see you here soon. Championships belong in Chicago. So, to the Blackhawks, thank you for bringing it back home. Thanks for bringing the Stanley Cup. (Applause.)
COACH QUENNEVILLE[CHAIRMAN WIRTZ]: Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks, thank you for this incredible honor. I can assure you these fine players, beginning with Captain Jonathan Toews, will never take these visits for granted. You can be proud the way that these players play for your home team hockey team.
More than — they are gifted athletes who not only win championships, but go a long way in breaking gridlock if you allow them into Congress. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: That’s true. I should try a hockey stick — during the shutdown — (laughter) — see how that worked.
COACH QUENNEVILLE[CHAIRMAN WIRTZ]: But thank you once again on behalf of the team and our fans, and please accept this jersey as a gesture for our gratitude. (Applause.)
2:22 P.M. EST