Tampa Bay Lightning visit White House after back-to-back championships
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The Tampa Bay Lightning’s back-to-back titles came during the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 and 2021.
Their first title came before the 2004 NHL lockout. So despite three championships, the franchise had never set foot in the White House until Monday.
“We’re extremely excited to finally make our first appearance here on Pennsylvania Avenue after missing out on previous years,” owner Jeffrey Vinik said.
During remarks on the South Lawn, President Joe Biden noted that Tampa, Florida has been scooping up sports trophies, “the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl, the Rays won the pennant, and these guys behind me became back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions.”
Players said the trip was worth the wait.
“That was, I’m sure, one of the highlights of our lives, not just our hockey career, to be here with the president,” center Steven Stamkos said.
Because of the delay, the White House trip comes about a week before the team begins its next playoff run.
“This does heighten the excitement for sure, going into the last week of the regular season, and we want to have a good start to the playoffs for sure,” defenseman Ryan McDonagh said.
Tampa Bay did not have a game scheduled in Washington. The team made the trip between game days.
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