Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin has a fan in the president and the president’s daughter.
As he hosted the team at the White House on Monday, the U.S. president said he’s a ‘hockey fan and a Capitals fan’ and importantly an Ovechkin fan.
So is his daughter Ivanka, he said. ‘She’s a friend, and she’s a tremendous fan,’ he said of the senior White House official.
Trump said it was a ‘great honor’ for him to host them, because he’s such a fan of the team and the Russian player.
‘This guy, I have no choice but to be his fan. Because he is something special. Look at those hands, huh,’ he said, patting Ovechkin on the hand as he complimented him.
Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin has a fan in the president and the president’s daughter – Trump said it was a ‘great honor’ for him to host them, because he loves the team and the Russian player
‘This guy, I have no choice but to be his fan. Because he is something special,’ the president said during an Oval Office event
‘Look at those hands, huh,’ he said, patting Ovechkin, the hockey team’s captain
U.S. President Donald Trump hosts the 2018 Stanley Cup champions: the Washington Capitals in the Oval Office of the White House
Trump shakes hands with John Carlson of the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals hockey team in the Oval Office of the White House as teammate T.J. Oshie watches
The president, who spoke from a seated position, reached up and put out his palm, inviting the player to give him a handshake. ‘Special guy. Special athlete, player,’ he repeated.
Trump couldn’t stop talking about the player, saying the team was ‘led to victory’ by the ‘very special athlete, a great player, Team Captain Alex Ovechkin’ who is fondly referred to as ‘Alexander the Great’ by his admirers.
‘And his hard work and loyalty has paid off last season. He outscored every player in the league. Wow. That’s not bad. Right?’ the president said.
Trump said he expects the Capitals to extend their winning streak, with the left wing who has played for the team for more than a decade leading them to victory in the playoffs once again.
‘Sixty-four goals, a hundred and fourteen points, and was named the playoff MVP. And that was easy. Nobody did more to deserve the Conn Smythe Trophy. And, Alex, congratulations. And we’re going to all be watching you in a few weeks — in a couple of weeks,’ he said.
The New York native said his staff is obsessed with the Caps, and the playoffs were a distraction this time last year.
‘They won something last year, and it was just — that’s all people wanted to talk about. I couldn’t get them focused on other things that we deal with, which are very important. They were all about the Capitals,’ he teased.
The playoffs will begin on April 10. Finals will not commence until June.
‘I guess you have six more games, and you go back, and then it’s back into the playoffs,’ the president observed on Monday. ‘I think you’re going to do fantastically well. Alex, I know you’re going to do great.’
Trump said it was his pleasure to welcome ‘the entire Capitals team’ calling them ‘winners’ and proclaiming: ‘They know how to win.’
Several players were not in attendance, however, having said last week that they were not coming.
Trump congratulated the team on their Stanley Cup win last summer and wished them luck on Monday in the upcoming playoffs
The First daughter Ivanka Trump,37, smiles as she leaves her Washington D.C. home, heads out to White House office on Thursday morning. Her father said she’s a Capitals fan on Monday – but she wasn’t in the Oval Office during his event
Trump said the entire team was in the Oval, however, goalie Braden Holtby did come to the White House
Goalie Braden Holtby did come to the White House. The Canadian athlete said he could not support this president’s agenda.
He said prior to the event that he had to ‘respectfully decline’ the offer, and his support for LGBTQ rights ‘one of the factors.’
‘But my family, myself, we believe in a world where humans are treated with respect regardless of your stature or what you’re born into. That’s just where it’s at with this decision. You’re asked to choose what side you’re on, and it’s pretty clear what side I’m on. I believe this is the right decision for myself and my family,’ he stated.
Holtby said was not an easy choice for him make – particularly because he did not want to disappoint his teammates.
‘It’s a tough situation for everyone, to be forced into making a decision,’ he said. ‘You’re a team. You want to stick together, no matter what. I hope everyone kind of blows it away. That you don’t worry about who goes and who doesn’t.’
He said it was the ‘right’ one for his family. But he doesn’t begrudge his teammates for joining Trump in the Oval Office, he said.
‘For me, it’s just a personal thing. I believe in what I believe in. In order to stick to those values, I have to do what I think is right, but that doesn’t make a difference in anyone else’s decision. We stick by every teammate and their decision,’ he stated.
Fellow Canadian Brett Connolly said he would sit the event out, too. He suggested he was avoiding the White House out of solidarity with former teammate Devante Smith-Pelly, who is black and condemned Trump’s rhetoric last summer.
In announcing his own plans to skip the expected event with the president, Smith-Pelley, who plays for minor league Hershey Bears now, said, ‘The things that he spews are straight-up racist and sexist.’
Connolly said he was skipping the White House celebration ‘support of an old teammate that I am really good friends with and I agreed with’ in a nod to Smith-Pelley.