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President Obama Honors the 2013 NHL Champion Chicago Blackhawks

August 24, 2019


The President:
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! (applause) 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) 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. 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)

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