March 11th, 2011
06:33 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) – It wasn't his beloved Chicago Bears or White Sox, but President Obama finally got to welcome one his hometown's teams to the White House as the Chicago Blackhawks were honored for their 2009-2010 Stanley Cup Championship with a ceremony on the South Lawn.
The president congratulated the players and coaches but then praised the fans for their perseverance. "We have a proud tradition in Chicago of believing that no matter how long it takes, how much we have to endure, it's only a matter of time before our team finally wins it all," Mr. Obama said. "The waiting builds character. We have a lot of character. Now, I have to say, even by Chicago standards, 49 years, that's a pretty long time."
Obama joked that the last time the team won he was in diapers and John F. Kennedy had just moved into the White House. He also noted that he would like the White Sox, Bears, Bulls or Cubs to be his guests at a similar ceremony in the near future.
Coach Joel Quenneville presented the president with a Blackhawks jersey with his name and the number 44. He even let him try on the championship ring. "That's what you call some bling," joked the president.
After the ceremony, First Lady Michelle Obama and members of the Blackhawks and the Washington Capitals held a sporting clinic with local kids. Portable goals were set up on the South Lawn driveway where the kids played street hockey with many of professional players.