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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 8, 2002

President Congratulates Red Wings
Remarks by the President in Photo Opportunity with the Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings
The East Room

  Video (Real)

1:16 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for coming. Gosh, we're honored you're here. Thanks for coming, and welcome to the White House.

I am honored to be greeting the mighty Detroit hockey team, winners of the Stanley Cup three out of the last six years, 10 times winners of Stanley Cup, and the team that made Detroit "Hockeytown."

It's an honor to be with the Ilitches, Mike and Marian, are the -- who do a really good job of setting the right tone for this club. I knew Mike when he was a Detroit Tiger owner. And this goes to prove it's easier to win in hockey than in baseball, I guess. (Laughter and applause.)

We're glad you all are here. Mr. Commissioner, thank you for coming. I appreciate you being here. It's an honor also to be on the stage with the great coach, a man whose name appears on the Stanley Cup 10 times -- nine times as a coach. Obviously, he knows what he's doing. (Laughter.) He gets all these ruffians skating in the same direction, is a pretty good -- (laughter.)

But I'm real proud of you, Scotty. I know the people of Detroit love you, and they're going to miss your leadership. (Applause.)

If I hadn't already asked -- announced that yesterday the Vice President was going to be my running mate, I was going to -- (laughter) -- I was thinking about you, anyway. (Laughter.)

I appreciate Dave Lewis, Scotty's replacement, being here. And I wish you all the best, Dave, for coming. It's an honor, as well, to be with the -- obviously, one of the true leaders of any sport, the team captain of the -- of the Detroit team; captain for 17 years, which is pretty remarkable that Steve could keep the respect of a group of highly skilled professionals for that long a period of time. And I am honored to be able to meet you, and I appreciate the character you've displayed as a real leader.

I'm also pleased to welcome some of Detroit's biggest fans here, including some of the elected officials who are the biggest fans, starting with our Secretary of Energy, Spence Abraham. Mr. Secretary. (Applause.) And we've got the Levin boys here from Michigan, Senator Carl and Congressman Sander, thank you all for coming. (Applause.) Congressman Mike Rogers and, of course, Congressman Conyers is here as well. We're honored that you all have come, and I know the team is grateful that you've taken time to come and express your support.

Somebody said, well, the roster looks like the Hall of Fame ballot. It doesn't look the Hall of Fame ballot to me; it looks like the United Nations. (Laughter.)

We're proud to welcome the team members from all around the globe. It is a remarkable sport that is able to attract star athletes from a lot of different countries and bring them together to play on one team. I think that's a pretty good example for the world to see. I think it is a remarkable feat that you've got all these stars from different parts of the world all aiming in the same direction.

Darren McCarty put it this way. He said, "A lot of us were -- when I say the word "it," it's talking about the Stanley Cup. "A lot of us were fighting to get it back; some guys were fighting to do it for the first time. The bottom line is, we're all fighting to do it together." And I appreciate that spirit; I think it's a good example for a lot of people who live in America, doing something to serve something greater than yourself -- in this case, the team. We appreciate that spirit. I don't think you'd have won without the team concept.

I also am appreciative of what you do with the Stanley Cup, the traditions of not only putting the players' names on the cup, but taking the cup to different players' hometowns. I think that's a pretty neat idea. And so this cup has been all across the U.S., of course it's been all across Canada. (Laughter.) It seems like you've got quite a few Canadians on the team there. (Laughter.) But it's been to Sweden and Russia and the Czech Republic. I'm fixing to go to the Czech Republic. The cup goes and then the President goes. (Laughter.)

It rode on the back of a Harley with Darren McCarty, went to Wrigley Field with Kris, got a bagpipe reception at Kris Draper's Stanley Cup party, and here it is at the White House. The cup has seen a lot, because the players are people that were proud to show off their accomplishments.

But let me tell you what I'm most impressed with, about how the players and the owners have used this championship victory. It brightened a lot of people's lives. See, that's the most important thing about this championship, as far as I'm concerned.

One afternoon, Steve Yzerman brought the cup to children in three different hospitals across the state of Michigan. The Ilitch family used the cup to raise a lot of money for a local emergency room. The coach made a dream come true for a child with leukemia, who just simply wanted to touch the Stanley Cup.

See, it's one thing to be the champion on the ice, it's another thing to be a champion in living your lives. I think there's a huge responsibility that comes with being a champion, and there's a huge responsibility when people put the spotlight on you. You have a responsibility to set the right example and to use your position to help not only serve something greater than yourself, the team, but to serve a society and help heal the hurt and help people who need a little special care.

So not only has this great team proven themselves to be champs on the ice, you've proven yourself to be champs off the ice. And for that, we are really grateful. Welcome to the White House. (Applause.)

MR. BOWMAN: Mr. President, on behalf of the Detroit Red Wings family and the National Hockey League, it's my honor to thank you for this wonderful visit, and also to congratulate you on a wonderful week, and also to know that you've got the sanction this morning that you worked so hard for. I know you had to get 15 countries, and we had to win 16 games. And we know how hard that is. (Laughter.) And we want to congratulate you, and thank you very much. (Applause.)

(A jersey is presented.) (Applause.)

END 1:23 P.M. EST

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