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Coach Bylsma Receives Phone Call from President Obama

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma was walking into the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada a few hours before the NHL Awards Show when his phone rang.

Bylsma had been anticipating a call from United States President Barack Obama, so when he looked down to see a three-digit number coming through his phone, he thought:

"The President is calling and my phone is running out of batteries and has very little charge."

When Bylsma answered the call, a person asked if he could hold for the President.

"I don't think they waited for my answer," Bylsma later joked.

Then President Obama got on the phone and congratulated Bylsma and the Penguins for their victory over the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final to become the 2009 NHL champions.

"(Obama) said it was an incredible playoffs, we did a great job, the team, and that we earned it," Bylsma said. "We talked about the Washington series and he said how lucky the city of Pittsburgh is to have the Steelers and us winning championships in the same year so close together."

Although the President did have one slight complaint.

"He was hoping Chicago would get to the Final and have a chance at the Cup," Bylsma said. 

The two chatted for about five minutes. Even after the call ended, it still hadn't sunk in to Bylsma that he just hung up the phone with the leader of the free world. 

"It's surreal recognizing his voice and for the President taking time out of his busy schedule and with all the things going on in our country and around the world," Bylsma said. "Hearing his voice and him congratulating us is an honor, a great memory and moment."

The follow up memory will be when President Obama welcomes Bylsma and the Penguins to the White House later this summer.

"Absolutely I'm looking forward to meeting him and having the guys go," Bylsma said. "It's exciting to think about going and seeing the President."
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