As is tradition, it’s expected that the reigning Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals will make a photo op visit to the White House at some point this upcoming season. American president Donald Trump has yet to extend an invitation to the hometown champion but was quoted back in June saying, “I think we’ll have the Caps. We’ll see. You know, my attitude is if they want to be here, the greatest place on Earth, I’m here. If they don’t want to be here, I don’t want them.”
Still, at least one Capitals players, forward Devante Smith Pelly, will NOT be in attendance if and when the Caps get an invitation from Trump. During a recent interview with TSN’s Mark Masters, Smith Pelly, a Canadian citizen, spoke candidly about his decision to not attend.
Check it out:
Caps’ Devante Smith-Pelly on decision to skip White House visit:
“The thing about this team is everyone is an individual & they let you be yourself so I’m not going to hold it against anyone if they want to go … & no one’s going to hold it against me”
For what it’s worth, it does seem like Smith Pelly’s teammates have his back, even if it turns out that he’s the only one uninterested in attending.
Check out some of these quotes from Smith Pelly’s teammates:
*T.J. Oshie (American):*“I’ve thought about it. I think it is an amazing tradition that you do. I realize everyone might have different stands on it, but I think going to the White House, whether people are very political or whether you like Trump or not, just kind of in my opinion, it stands for so much more than that. It is something people have been doing for a long time, with so many different presidents, that I think it would be cool for us to go there. … Any excuse to have the Cup with you I think, at least for me, I want to take advantage of it.”
*Matt Niskanen (American):*“I don’t have a really public opinion on that whole situation. Whatever the team decides to do I’ll support it. I’m an athlete, not a political pundit. I don’t believe these things should be mixed. Politics aside, the White House is a cool building, the presidency is a pretty cool thing. I never really understood why sports and that stuff gets mixed together, but I guess it’s kind of a cool thing.”
*Alex Ovechkin (Russian):*“Yeah, looking forward. Can’t wait. I’ve never been there. Only taken pictures around it. It will be fun.”
*Braden Holtby (Canadian):*“I don’t know. We’re gonna try and make that a group decision. Weigh the positives and negatives of everything. In any situation like that, you want to make sure you’re doing what’s right for what you believe in and that should take thought and weigh a group decision. We’ll discuss that later.”
For better or worse, it looks like Smith Pelly will have the support of his teammates. Whether or not this changes things in Trump’s eyes though… well that’s anyone’s guess.