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Daley will likely not visit White House with Penguins

After last year's presidential visit, Wings defenseman plans to participate in ring ceremony only

by Arthur J. Regner @ArthurJRegner /

DETROIT -- Sometime during the upcoming regular season, the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins will be honored at the White House and have an audience with President Donald Trump.

It has become a tradition to have the reigning championship team of each of the four major professional sports leagues meet with the U. S. President.

However, what was always a low key, but fun affair (I covered the Red Wings' White House visit with President Clinton in 1998), suddenly became a political topic of discussion last week when President Trump rescinded the Golden State Warriors' invitation after superstar guard Steph Curry said he was opposed to the Warriors' visit.

Coupled with the president's remarks about what NFL owners should do to their players who kneel during the national anthem - which led to a league-wide show of solidarity by players and many owners on Sunday - the world of athletics has been thrown smack into the middle of the political stage.

Enter Wings defenseman Trevor Daley, a Toronto native who is also black.

Daley signed as a free agent with the Wings in July after being a member of the Penguins' back-to-back Stanley Cup teams.

And since the Penguins announced they would accept their White House invitation, Daley was asked if he would be a part of the Penguins' ensemble in Washington D.C.

"No," Daley said. "I'm not sure when they're going. I haven't really been following that too much. I really don't know how to comment on it. If I was a part of that team, I'd be doing whatever the team's doing."

Being a Canadian, Daley was hesitant to comment on what is going on between Trump and the NFL.

"I think everybody is entitled to their own voice," Daley said. "It's just something that I'm not into, that politics stuff. I like to play hockey. I'm good at that, so I try to stick to what I'm good at."

He does realize that hockey has an issue with diversity and he would like to see more black players, but he is encouraged when he looks at hockey's next generation of players; he sees a more diverse collection of athletes.

When Daly was asked what he would say to black hockey fans, especially in Detroit, a predominantly black city, about the Penguins choosing to go to the White House, his answer was honest and heartfelt.

"I feel that hockey players, we do what we're told a lot and yeah, if the team wants us to do something, we're going to do it regardless of what your faiths are," Daley said. "When you win a Stanley Cup, I guess part of winning the Cup is to go visit the White House, regardless of who's there that you like or you dislike.

"There's a whole part of going into the White House that's pretty cool. We got to do it last year. It was an amazing experience, going to the White House and just seeing the everyday activities that go on there. It was a pretty cool experience just to say you went to the White House.

"As a champion, part of being a champion is you go to the White House. I think that's a tradition around the league in sports. I think that's why those guys (the Penguins) decided to go.

"I've already been, so I don't know if it would mean that much this time. To go and leave my team, to have a day away from them - I'm on a different team now. It's kind of like a different situation.

"I'm going to the ring ceremony in a couple of days. This year, I'm just going to do the ring thing. If it did work out (his schedule allowing him to go to the White House), I don't know. I would have to discuss it with the Red Wings first and then go from there."

Daley said the ring ceremony will be held next Monday, Oct. 2.

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