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White House honors back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning

The Florida-based group defeated the Dallas Stars within the 2020 finals in six video games, a interval through which the NHL and different skilled leagues performed their video games in a “bubble” away from followers. They adopted up that championship by beating the Montreal Canadiens throughout in 5 video games within the 2021 finals.

Biden referred to as the hockey group “one of the most well-rounded teams in recent memory.”

“This team joined rare company — one of only eight teams over the last century to win two Stanley Cups in a row,” the President famous in the course of the celebration ceremony on the White House South Lawn. “And I know that those two championships are very different.”

Speaking to the variations between the 2020 and 2021 championships, Biden mentioned, “In 2020, your fans watched a win from thousands of miles away as you as you competed in the bubble in Edmonton due to the pandemic. But this past season, you got to deliver something truly special — hosting the Cup on your home ice in front of the Tampa faithful.”

The President additionally credited the group for its neighborhood service, together with a program that delivered “more than $25 million in charitable causes.”

“And last year, your home arena also became a lifeline for families in Tampa,” the President added, noting that first woman Jill Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the President’s chief medical adviser, got here down in the course of the Stanley Cup semifinals “to encourage hockey fans to get vaccinated at your arena.” Biden mentioned this system was “helping save lives” and “helping the country and our economy.”

Jeff Vinik, proprietor of the Tampa Bay Lightning, mentioned in the course of the ceremony that the group’s “2020 Stanley Cup championship was one defined by the extraordinary time of sacrifice on and off the ice, with many of these gentlemen behind me spending 65 days isolated in a bubble away from their family and friends in order to capture the ultimate prize.” He added that this previous season, “after starting … with no fans, we capped it off with our second consecutive Stanley Cup championship in front of a roaring capacity crowded Amalie Arena.”

Ryan McDonagh, a defenseman for Lightning, advised the out of doors crowd that it has been a “historic run” for his group.

“It was the first time we got the hoist the Stanley Cup, an unbelievable feeling that no one can take away from us,” McDonagh mentioned of the 2020 win. “The second championship run also had its challenges. We still had to abide by some restrictions while traveling from city to city … and also started the year with no fans in the buildings. But at the very end, we found ourselves at Amalie Arena with a chance to win the Stanley Cup, not only in front of family and friends, but in front of a packed arena filled with Bolts Nation fans — an unbelievable memory.”

“Under the circumstances (over) the last couple of years, this wasn’t able to happen. So, to be able to come here in the current state that we’re at and really get to enjoy the experience — we got a chance to go in the Oval Office as well with the President. He was so generous with his time with our group. So, I know we appreciate that a lot,” the group’s captain, Steven Stamkos, advised reporters.

Last yr, forward of the Stanley Cup Finals, the President entered right into a wager with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — a devoted Canadiens fan.

“Two of the best teams in the NHL are facing off right now… how about a friendly wager, @POTUS? #GoHabsGo #StanleyCup,” Trudeau tweeted.

@POTUS responded: “You’re on pal. #GoBolts.”

After Tampa received, Trudeau tweeted that “a bet’s a bet” and that he was sending “a package of Montreal smoked meat sandwiches” to Biden.

The final time a Stanley Cup-winning group visited the White House was in 2019, when then-President Donald Trump honored the St. Louis Blues at a Rose Garden ceremony.

CNN’s Donald Judd contributed to this report.

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