When it comes to hockey, it’s all come full circle for U.S. President Barack Obama – as he pointed out over the phone to Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan on Wednesday.
“I started off my presidency with a Penguins Stanley Cup, and I’m now ending it with a Penguins Stanley Cup,” Obama told Sullivan.
In between those two championships, Obama’s Blackhawks won three times – making this one easier for the Chicago native to deal with.
“I actually feel just fine about this because the Blackhawks have had three since I’ve been in office, so I can’t be that greedy,” Obama joked.
A laughing Sullivan responded, “Well, if there’s any consolation I worked for the Blackhawks a year ago, so I certainly have a lot of affinity to that organization as well.”
The president phoned Sullivan, who is currently in Las Vegas for the NHL Awards and took the call in his hotel room, to congratulate him and the entire Penguins organization for their victory over the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup Final to become the 2016 NHL champions.
“I know hockey. I don’t play hockey, I’d break my ankles,” Obama said. “But I know hockey. I know you guys had a great run.”
“Yeah, we did. We really did,” Sullivan replied. “We’ve got a great group of players. They played extremely hard. We’re certainly proud of them. As you know, it’s hard to win these championships in professional sports so we’re proud of the whole group.”
Before telling Sullivan he deserved just as much credit for the accomplishment, Obama went on to invite him and the team to the White House to celebrate the championship.
“I hope we can find a date that works before I leave office,” the president said. “In the meantime, send my congratulations to Sidney (Crosby) and the rest of the team on an amazing season.”