George W. Bush photo

Remarks Honoring the 2007 Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks

February 06, 2008

Thank you all. Thanks for coming. Please be seated. Welcome to the White House. We're glad you're here. Like, have you noticed a lot of security around here? It's because the Vice President heard there were some Ducks around. [Laughter]

These Ducks are awfully mighty. It's such an honor to welcome you. I love welcoming champs to the White House, and these are clearly great champs. You know, the playoffs have got to be tough at that time of year, after you've played so long and your legs are a little tired—except you romped through the playoffs. I don't know if many Americans understand that, but this team went 16-5 through the first four rounds, became the first west coast team in the NHL to win the Stanley Cup. And that's a big deal.

And so it's my honor to welcome you to the White House. Glad you're here. I do want to welcome the owner, Henry Samueli; appreciate you coming. Thanks for bringing the girls. I had the privilege of being in pro sports as a baseball owner. I never had the chance to come to the White House as a baseball owner. [Laughter] I had a little trouble on the division crowns as a baseball owner. [Laughter] But I understand how—what a joy it must be to represent an ownership group, to watch a team you care about win the Stanley Cup, and win any championship. So we're glad you came. Thanks for coming, Henry.

Michael Schulman, who is the CEO, I'm glad you're here, Mike; Brian Burke, the general manager. I really want to say something about Randy Carlyle, the head coach. It's got to be hard to be a head coach of such great athletes. I don't know if you're ever in the newspaper. [Laughter] Yes, I know how you feel. But I'm proud to have you here.

Scott Niedermayer is the MVP. I tend not to try to single out a player, but nevertheless, when you have an MVP in your midst, I'm proud to recognize you; glad you're here.

I do want to welcome the commissioner. Mr. Commissioner, thanks for coming. This isn't the first time we've been together like this; it will probably be the last like this. [Laughter] But I know you'll keep coming back to the White House to promote the champs in a sport you love.

I want to thank the mayor of Anaheim, my friend Curt Pringle. Thanks for coming, Mr. Mayor. It must be a big deal when the Ducks win the Stanley Cup for the people of Anaheim, and I'm honored that you're here. I also want to welcome Congressman Eddy Royce. Ed, thanks for coming; appreciate you being here. Of course, we welcome all the players, all the personnel, all the fans.

And how about the Northern Virginia Ice Dog Mites hockey team? Yes. The Ice Dogs—[laughter]—are here to see the Ducks. [Laughter] I bet you guys want to be Stanley Cup champs some day too, don't you? Well, here they are; you got a chance to see what they look like. I bet you they would tell you that in order to be a Stanley Cup champ, you have to work hard and skate hard and make right choices in life, just like these folks did that are standing up here with me.

The Stanley Cup was awarded 115 years ago, which makes it the oldest trophy in professional sports. The Cup bears the names of not only the teams that won it but more than 2,000 names of the individuals who have raised the Cup in victory. And these men behind me now have their name on the Cup.

The interesting thing about the Stanley Cup, it's the only professional sports trophy that every player on the championship team gets to take home for a day. This Cup has been to some odd places. [Laughter] For example, it went to Elvis's place in Memphis, Graceland. [Laughter] It has taken a turn on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It has seen the inside of an igloo and a New York City jail. [Laughter] It stood next to a giant statue of Lenin and a 55-foot Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, Minnesota. The Cup has been to countless bars and nightclubs across the world, and I'm sure some of the players are pleased the Cup can't talk. [Laughter]

Last year, the Cup made its first visit to a combat zone. Nineteen players— former NHL players—took this cup to Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan for a ball-hockey game with Canadian and American troops. I promise you, our troops were thrilled to see the Cup. And whoever thought of it, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting those kids.

The Anaheim Ducks also took the Cup on many adventures, traveling with it to Canada, Sweden, Finland, and England. Chris Pronger and Todd Marchant each took it home to use it as a cereal bowl for the kids—[laughter]—pretty hungry kids. Sean O'Donnell filled it with dog food so that his Lab, Buddy, could eat from it. You know, I was wondering why Barney and my dogs took such a liking to the Stanley Cup. [Laughter]

Ducks players have used their time to help lift the lives of others. This is what I'm particularly grateful for. The Ducks took the Cup to the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA and the Children's Hospital in Orange County, where it brought joy to somebody who is suffering. That must have been a fantastic experience, to see somebody's face light up who was having a pretty tough go in life, and I want to thank you for that. I appreciate the fact that you took the Cup to the Orangewood Children's Foundation, where it helped raise the spirits of those who have been— who are victims of abuse and neglect.

Several Ducks took the Cup for a visit to our wounded warriors at Camp Pendleton. The general manager, Brian Burke, said this: "This is the most special moment I've had with the Cup—not being with my family, not being with my friends, but being at Camp Pendleton." He knows what I know: The United States of America is incredibly lucky to have brave men and women volunteer in the face of danger to serve our country. And I cannot thank you enough for honoring those wounded warriors, those marines, and for lifting their spirits and for thanking them for their sacrifice and their service.

I appreciate your talent. These are great athletes, but they've also got big hearts. I congratulate the coaches. I congratulate the family members, the wives, girlfriends who put up with the long, long time away from home. It's got to be tough to be a spouse supporting somebody you love in professional sports, and I want to thank your families for supporting you in this.

I do want to thank all those who make the training room go. You know, a lot of times championships are focused on the players, but these players will be the first to tell you there's the locker room attendants, there's the laundry people, there's the equipment people who deserve just as much of this championship as they do. And I want to congratulate you and those of you who happened to handle this aspect of—for the Anaheim Ducks. Welcome to the White House.

I will remind you that you've achieved something millions of kids dream about— and a couple of oldtimers dream about too. You set a great example for them, and I congratulate you for your championship. And you'll for always be remembered for the rest of your lives as Stanley Cup champs.

Welcome to the White House, and God bless you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:02 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Gary B. Bettman, commissioner, National Hockey League; and Chris Pronger and Sean O'Donnell, defensemen, and Todd Marchant, forward, Anaheim Ducks.

George W. Bush, Remarks Honoring the 2007 Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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