WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals confirmed they will be joining President Donald Trump at the White House Monday, nearly 10 months after their Stanley Cup victory.
The White House has a tradition of inviting championship-winning teams, and the Capitals weren't without anticipation. Less than a week after the 2018 championship, the team was pondering their White House visit, despite Trump not having extended the offer yet.
Center Nikclas Backstrom told The Washington Post that the invitation is exciting, and he's looking forward to attending.
"It’s going to be a great experience," Backstrom said. "It’s been a tradition, I think, for many years. We’re not going to mix politics with sports. It’s because we won last year; that’s why we’re there. Yeah, it’ll be a cool experience, I think."
Soon after the victory in 2018, other Capitals teammates said they would attend The White House ceremony when asked, with the exception of forward Devante Smith-Pelly, who said he wouldn't go, according to The Post.
Brett Connoly respectfully declined the invitation.
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby addressed the media on Friday saying he also will not be attending.
There are other players who are expecting to attend the tradition. Alex Ovechkin, for one, is looking forward to going to The White House.
"I don’t know what to say," Ovechkin said. “I’m just excited. It’s nice.”
Tom Wilson is another team-member who appreciates the gesture and the tradition.
"It's another chance to recognize the special run that we had last year," Wilson said.
"It's an experience I want to be a part of... it's something we worked really hard for," Defenseman John Carlson said.