Skip to main content

Obama congratulates Sullivan on Penguins' Cup win

President speaks with coach by phone Wednesday, extends invite for White House visit

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

Obama Congratulates the Pens

Obama calls Coach Sullivan to congratulate the Pens

President Obama calls Coach Sullivan to congratulate the Penguins organization on winning the Stanley Cup

  • 02:18 •

Ten days after guiding the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup championship, coach Mike Sullivan received a special phone call.

It was Barack Obama.

"Hi, Mr. President. How are you?" Sullivan asked.

"Oh, I'm doing great. Not quite as good as you," Obama said. "But that's OK."

"I just want to congratulate you and the entire Penguins organization," Obama told Sullivan. "I started off my presidency with a Penguins Stanley Cup (in 2009), and I'm now ending it with a Penguins Stanley Cup."

"Well, thank you," Sullivan said. "It's been a fun year, as I'm sure you can attest. I'm not sure if you're a hockey fan, but I know you're a sports fan …"

Obama interrupted.

"Listen, I know hockey. I don't play hockey," the president said. "I'd break my ankles. But I know hockey. I know you guys had a great run."

Sullivan replaced Mike Johnston in December when the Penguins were 15-10-3 and in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. They finished second in the Metropolitan Division and went 16-9 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to win their fourth championship. Sullivan gushed to the president about the way his players performed.

"I appreciate humility, but you need to take some credit because you did a heck of a job coaching," Obama said.

Obama then invited Sullivan and the Penguins to the White House before he leaves office in January 2017, and Sullivan happily accepted.

"I actually feel fine about this because the [Chicago] Blackhawks have had three [championships] since I've been in office, so I can't get be that greedy about it," said Obama, who has called Chicago home since the mid-80s.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.