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Blackhawks share Cup with Walter Reed patients, staff

by Dan Rosen / Chicago Blackhawks
Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean / Chicago Blackhawks

Bethesda, Md. -- The Chicago Blackhawks spent Monday morning visiting with wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as part of their visit to the Washington, D.C. area to celebrate their Stanley Cup championship.

The Blackhawks spent roughly 90 minutes talking with the soldiers, signing autographs and taking pictures with the Stanley Cup.

Following the visit the Blackhawks left Walter Reed to travel to the White House, where they are scheduled to be honored by President Barack Obama at approximately 2:10 p.m. ET.

The Blackhawks also visited Walter Reed after winning the Stanley Cup in 2010.

In attendance at Walter Reed on Monday were members of the USA Wounded Warriors hockey team. The Blackhawks have a standing relationship with the Wounded Warriors team and have invited them to practice with the team in Chicago.

Blackhawks president John McDonough spoke to the soldiers in attendance and thanked them for their service to the United States. He called it an emotional and humbling visit for the team.

McDonough received a round of applause when he said the USA Wounded Warriors hockey team will be invited to play at Soldier Field around the time of Chicago's Coors Light Stadium Series game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 1.

"The next time we come back I think we should be asking you for autographs," McDonough said. "Thank you for what you have done for us as Americans and thank you for our freedom."

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews presented a white Blackhawks sweater with the number 13 and WALTER REED on the back to Captain David A. Bitoni, commander of the Naval Support Activity Bethesda with responsibility for the military base in Bethesda.

"A lot of teamwork goes into winning the Stanley Cup," Toews said, "but it's absolutely nothing compared to what you guys do."

Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) also addressed the crowd. Quigley is a Chicago native and a Blackhawks fan, and also has helped foster the relationship between the Blackhawks and the USA Wounded Warriors hockey team.

Quigley called the Blackhawks the "classiest team in sports."

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