VIDEO: If you missed the White House ceremony honoring the Los Angeles Kings and the LA Galaxy for their championship seasons, you can watch it here! Also includes video of White House interviews with Jonathan Quick and Willie Mitchell.
LOS ANGELES — The celebratory atmosphere surrounding the 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings took longer to subside than it normally would have for a Stanley Cup Champion, thanks to the delayed start to the new season, courtesy of the latest National Hockey League lockout.
But that atmosphere was back on March 26, when the Kings and the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer were honored at the White House for their championship seasons by the President of the United States, Barack Obama.
After entering the East Room at the White House, accompanied by Kings head coach Darryl Sutter, and Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, President Obama opened the festivities by recognizing the LA Galaxy, who have won back-to-back MLS Cup Championships.
“I was telling these guys they’re starting to get a little comfortable around here, because they just keep on coming back,” said President Obama. “It is great to have both teams here, not just because they share a hometown. I’m a little resentful, coming from Chicago, that L.A. seems to be getting all these championships. But they don’t just share a hometown. They also share a pretty good comeback story.”
“When it comes to the Galaxy, a team with Landon Donovan on it is rarely the underdog,” added President Obama. “But when the Galaxy was here last year, their chances of repeating as champions didn’t look all that good. The injury bug plagued the team, it seemed like it might be a rebuilding year. But right after that visit, they turned things around.”
The President’s lighter side then came out.
“You can call it a coincidence, but I just want to point out that right after they visited with me, the Galaxy built the best record in the league,” he joked.
The President then turned his attention to the Kings.
“These guys were not defending champions,” the President noted. “In fact, before last year, L.A. had never won the Stanley Cup, and after switching head coaches mid-season—a coach, I should add, who got good training from the Chicago Blackhawks—squeaking into the playoffs as a number eight seed, it looked like the streak of not winning was going to continue. No eighth seed had ever won a championship in any of our professional sports.”
“But something happened during the playoffs,” the President added. “Timing is everything, and as center Jarret Stoll said, ‘we all came together at the right time, and we all peaked at the right time.’”
“With playoff MVP Jonathan Quick playing lights out in goal, these guys just kept winning game after game after game, and eventually, the rest of the league started to take notice.”
President Obama then tipped his cap to Kings fans.
“Captain Dustin Brown put it best before the final game,” said President Obama. “He said, ‘I don’t know what 45 years of energy sounds like, but if we play our game, maybe we’ll find out,’ and that night, at the Staples Center, they found out, and America found out that Southern California actually has some pretty intense hockey fans.”
The President, who makes his permanent home in Chicago, served in the United States Senate, representing Illinois, before being elected as President. He noted that the Kings made sure to tell him that they had beaten the Blackhawks last night.
Not to be outdone, the President, in good humor, fired right back.
“I’m going to be a good sport,” he said. “These guys pointed out that they beat my Blackhawks last night. I would also say that, given this season, how rare it is to beat the Blackhawks, I want to congratulate them for that as well.”
The Blackhawks have the best record in the NHL this season, 24-4-3.
The President also took note of the work both teams are doing in local communities.
“We also found out that both of these teams are full of some pretty stand-up players and coaches,” he noted. “They’re out in the community year-round. They’re changing lives and making a difference. As Coach Arena of the Galaxy says, ‘the soccer is very much secondary. If we can have an impact on the lives of young kids, we want to be a part of that.’ That’s something we all appreciate, especially those of us who are parents.”
“I want to give a hearty congratulations to both the Kings and the Galaxy one more time for bringing two championships to L.A., and for doing so much for your fans back in California…I hope these teams have a great rest of the season.”
Brown called the event an “amazing experience.”
“Visiting the White House was an amazing experience, especially as an American,” said Brown. “To see the history and prestige that this building represents was awesome. Meeting the President is not something you get to do every day, so it was an overall great experience.”
Having been honored at the White House several times before, Donovan called the opportunity to visit the White House again, “extraordinary.”
“The opportunity to come to the White House once is special, but to be able to come in consecutive years like we have is extraordinary,” he said. “Our club is extremely proud to be a part of such a wonderful event.”
President and CEO of the Anschutz Entertainment Group Dan Beckerman thanked the President for honoring both teams.
“On behalf of AEG, the LA Kings and LA Galaxy franchises, and all of our great fans in the City of Los Angeles, it was sincerely an honor to be invited to the White House to commemorate the historic 2012 Championship Seasons of each of the teams,” he said. “We thank President Obama, who truly represents sports fans across the nation, for inviting both of our teams to participate in this first-ever dual ceremony, and more importantly, for recognizing the great work our athletes do off the ice and pitch in our community.”
Following the brief ceremony, players from each team participated in a question and answer session and a clinic with children who are part of “Let’s Move,” which is according to the program’s web site, a, “…comprehensive initiative, launched by First Lady [Michelle Obama], dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.”
For more quotes from the festivities at the White House, check out what Jon Rosen has already posted (and more will be forthcoming once the team arrives in St. Louis) on LAKingsInsider.com.
If you missed the White House event, you can watch it below.
White House Ceremony and Interviews via KingsVision On YouTube
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For the cost of that jersey, Obama could have a dozen White House Tours.
Hey maybe the pres. can bring us a little luck and we’ll suddenly blow everyone out of the water. Except we’re about 3/4 of the way through our season, not half… But hey, we could use all the luck we can get!