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Lightning player cracks up as Biden calls NHL commissioner ‘Gary Batman’

A Tampa Bay Lighting player was seen cracking up after President Biden mistakenly referred to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman as “Gary Batman” during the team’s White House visit on Monday. 

Biden made the slip-up during his speech honoring the 2021 Stanley Cup winners, in which he thanked Bettman for being in attendance.

“I want to thank Commissioner Gary Batman for being here as well,” Biden said, without correcting himself on the mistake. 

Video circulated on social media showed Lighting star defenseman Victor Hedman appearing to have a quick chuckle at Biden’s gaffe and turn his face away from the camera to look at a teammate standing next to him for a reaction as well. 

Hedman, along with team captain Steven Stamkos, presented Biden with a Lightning team jersey with his name and the number 46 on the back and a silver hockey stick during their White House visit. 

The Tampa Bay Lighting are the reigning Stanley Cup champions, winning back-to-back titles by defeating the Dallas Stars in the pandemic-shortened 2019-2020 season and the Montreal Canadiens last season. 

Other Tampa Bay-area professional sports teams such as the NFL’s Buccaneers and MLB’s Rays have also found playoff success in recent years. During his speech, Biden referred to Tampa as the new “city of champions.”

“At the risk of stating the obvious here, it’s a pretty good time to be a sports fan in Tampa,” Biden said at the ceremony. “I don’t know what the hell you have in the water there. The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl, the Rays won the pennant, and these guys behind me became back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.”

Championship-level sports teams visiting the White House and celebrating with the president has been an annual tradition for decades. It was upended during the Trump administration, however, when notable coaches and athletes, including Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, refused to visit the White House in protest of former President Trump, who vocally disapproved of athletes protesting racial inequality and police brutality.

Tags Biden Florida Gary Bettman Gary Bettman Gary Bettman NHL NHL NHL President Biden President Biden Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Lightings Tampa Bay Lightings Tampa Bay Lightning Victor Hedman Victor Hedman

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