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Biden welcomes defending NHL champion Lightning to White House

Tampa Bay Lightning Captain Steven Stamkos and Alternate Captain Victor Headman present a jersey and silver hockey stick to President Biden at the White House on Monday, April 25, 2022, celebrating their 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup Championship wins.
Anna Rose Layden
Tampa Bay Lightning Captain Steven Stamkos and Alternate Captain Victor Headman present a jersey and silver hockey stick to President Biden at the White House on Monday, April 25, 2022, celebrating their 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup Championship wins.

President Biden on Monday welcomed the reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning to the White House in a celebration of the team’s back-to-back NHL title victories.

“At the risk of stating the obvious here, it’s a pretty good time to be a sports fan in Tampa,” Biden said, with the Stanley Cup resting on a table next to him and team members standing on risers behind him.

“I don’t know what the hell you have in the water there,” Biden continued. “The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl, the Rays won the pennant, and these guys behind me became back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.”

The Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the regular season and delayed the playoffs until August. After an unusual 24-team playoff that took place entirely in Canada, the Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars to win the Stanley Cup in five games.

In 2021, the Lightning again won the Stanley Cup, defeating the Montreal Canadiens in five games. 

Tampa Bay is poised to make the playoffs yet again when the 2021-22 season ends this week.

Team captain Steven Stamkos and star defenseman Victor Hedman presented Biden with a Lightning sweater with the president’s name and the number 46 on the back. The two also gave Biden a silver hockey stick.

It has been tradition for decades for title-winning teams to visit the White House and celebrate with the president.

That tradition was upended during the Trump administration, when numerous athletes and coaches refused to visit the White House in protest of then-President Trump, who criticized LeBron James, Stephen Curry and the Philadelphia Eagles on Twitter.

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