Share

President Obama honors a pair of Los Angeles champions in Kings and Galaxy

By |
Sports,NHL,Brian Hughes

President Obama honored a pair of champion Los Angeles sports franchises at the White House on Tuesday, acknowledging some envy of the city's good fortunes in both hockey and soccer.

From the East Room of the White House, Obama praised the Los Angeles Kings for their Stanley Cup victory last year, as well as the Galaxy for a second straight MLS Cup title.

"I'm a little resentful, coming from Chicago, that L.A. seems to be getting all these championships," Obama said. "But they don't just share a hometown, they also share a pretty good comeback story."

Never one to pass up the tale of an underdog, Obama noted that the Kings entered the playoffs as a lowly No. 8 seed -- after switching head coaches during the middle of the season.

"Before last year, L.A. had never won the Stanley Cup," Obama said, recounting the history of the warm-weather franchise. "It looked like the streak of not winning was going to continue. ... But something happened during the playoffs -- timing is everything."

The Kings bested the New Jersey Devils in six games in the Stanley Cup Finals.

As for the Galaxy, Obama said the team overcame a rash of injuries, dispelling the notion that it would be a rebuilding year for the Landon Donovan-led squad. He also claimed credit for the team's turnaround, reminding the players that they started playing better after last year's White House ceremony.

"You can call it a coincidence, but I just want to point out that right after they visited with me, the Galaxy built the best record in the league," Obama said.

Donovan then gave the president a team jersey and a soccer ball, which Obama bounced off his head.

"I hope you guys caught that," Obama said proudly. "That doesn't happen very often."

The teams also hosted an exercise clinic for children from the south lawn of the White House.

Phil Anschutz, owner of The Washington Examiner's parent company, Clarity Media Group, owns the Galaxy and a share of the Kings.

Ahead of the team's visit, Kings' head coach Darryl Sutter -- a rancher from Alberta -- vowed to press Obama on the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas. The project has been put on hold as the Obama administration weighs concerns from environmentalists.

The topic never came up during the public ceremony, and White House officials would not comment on any private discussions between Obama and Sutter.

After a slow start to the lockout-shorted season, the Kings (18-12-2, 38 points) seem primed to return to the playoffs and attempt to defend the Stanley Cup.

bhughes@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment