Tuesday afternoon, after weeks of discussion and debate, the Penguins went to the White House to celebrate their 2017 Stanley Cup with President Donald Trump — just as they did with President Barack Obama following their 2016 Stanley Cup win.
Pittsburgh is the fourth championship team to visit the White House after the NFL’s New England Patriots, NCAA college football’s Clemson Tigers, and the MLB’s Chicago Cubs. After declining the invitation, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors were ultimately uninvited by Trump.
The Stanley Cup has arrived at the White House. pic.twitter.com/igInOcI4GF— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 10, 2017
It’s uncertain how the Penguins’ visit will transpire over the next few hours, and similarly, how it will be used afterwards.
Over the last month, the Penguins organization has been clear about their viewpoint coming into the White House visit, stating that it isn’t political and that they “respect the institution of the Office of the President and the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House.”
On Monday, Sidney Crosby released the statement below describing where he stands when asked to provide further comment on today’s events:
“I just grew up under the assumption that (politics) wasn’t something really bred into sports...from my side of things, there’s absolutely no politics involved.”
From several pictures scattered across social media, there seems to be a much larger media crowd for this visit, including a few Canadian groups as well.
Pretty large media contingent here for Penguins White House visit. Looks more than last year. Also a few Canadian crews pic.twitter.com/u1Vy5VR00A— Rich Walsh KDKA (@RichieWalsh) October 10, 2017
A live stream of the event was broadcasted here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/live/president-trump-welcomes-pittsburgh-penguins-white-house
President Trump opened the ceremony with remarks about the natural disasters in California, Texas, and Florida, as well as the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. Then got right into it by offering remarks about the Penguins victory run.
When addressing the entire team, Trump said, “The competition is tough. Is it tough? Not for you guys it’s not tough.”
Carrying on, Trump went on to praise the Penguins’ owner Mario Lemieux on his golf game, as well as mention D.C.’s local NHL team, the Washington Capitals, and the hard-fought series Pittsburgh had with them in the playoffs. Boos from the crowd echoed in the room while he did so.
Crosby was also called upon as Trump continued on with his speech, jokingly asking him, “Do you know how to win or what?”
From there on out, Trump stuck mostly to his script, honoring Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Matt Murray, Conor Sheary, Jake Guentzel, Justin Schultz, and Kris Letang specifically.
The ceremony didn’t last very long, and at the conclusion of his speech, he complimented the city of Pittsburgh, saying it had great fans, that Pennsylvania is a great state and great place, and then finished by calling the Penguins “true, true champions and incredible patriots.”
There were, however, a couple things the Penguins did differently...
Differences from last year, Penguins didn't give Trump a gift, there's no team photo with President and the Cup.— Hemal Jhaveri (@hemjhaveri) October 10, 2017
With this behind the team, they will now focus on playing hockey again tomorrow night against the Capitals.