The Boston Bruins paid a visit to the White House on Monday to celebrate the team’s 2011 Stanley Cup championship.
But the man who perhaps played the biggest role in them winning their first title in 39 years decided to pass on the invite from President Barack Obama.
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was not on hand for Monday’s ceremony, a decision he made months ago due to his political and ideological differences with the current administration.
“He chose not to come,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. ”The reasons behind it I think he’ll make the media aware through his Facebook.”
Thomas, one of only two Americans on Boston’s roster, registered a .967 save percentage in seven games against Vancouver, stopping 238 of the 246 shots he faced. The effort earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“I can require someone to attend a team event. If they don’t, I can suspend him.” Chiarelli told the Boston Globe. “I’m not suspending Tim. Whatever his position is, it isn’t reflective of the Boston Bruins nor my own. But I’m not suspending him.”
The political statement didn’t change the celebratory mood for the afternoon. Obama tossed around some New England slang, saying he knew the Bruins were all “wicked happy” to be there.
“The Bruins, the Sox, the Celtics, now the Patriots. Enough already, Boston,” Obama said. “What’s going on, huh?”
Obama praised the team’s unity through the grind of the NHL playoffs.
“Together, these players proved that teamwork is everything. It can overcome injuries, it can overcome long odds.”