Hawks visit White House: Obama vs. goalies

Barack Obama welcomes his hometown Blackhawks to the White House. What would happen if a Canadian team ever won the Stanley Cup again?

What is it with Barack Obama and NHL goaltenders? First, Tim Thomas infamously refused to visit the White House, as a matter of principle after the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011. Now, the U.S. president is busting Corey Crawford’s chops for the netminder’s, ummm, colorful parade speech this past summer. The friendly ribbing took place yesterday during the Hawks’ tour of Obama’s digs.

In case you missed Crawford’s inspired oration, here’s what he had to say.

The White House visit “tradition” became popular in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan ruled D.C. and has become entrenched as a perk for championship teams in major North American pro sports.

Of course, it begs the question, what will happen when (if?) a Canadian club next captures the Cup. The last time that happened, in 1993, the Montreal Canadiens politely declined a visit. That was during an era when Americans comprised just 18 per cent of NHL players.

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If one of the seven Canadian franchises breaks the drought this season and is extended a visit to meet Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa, they will be in the presence of a hardcore hockey fan. Harper is a member of the Society of International Hockey Research and has recently published a book entitled “A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey.”