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Blackhawks to visit Obamas at White House

White HouseHealthNHLChicago BlackhawksMichelle ObamaPhiladelphia FlyersWalter Reed Army Medical Center

WASHINGTON—The reigning Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks will visit President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House on March 11.

The visit, at 2 p.m. Chicago time, will see the president salute his hometown hockey team for their 2009-10 championship season.

After a ceremony honoring the team, Mrs. Obama, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean will preside over a street hockey workout and clinic on a rink set up on the South Lawn of the White House, a White House official said.

The clinic for local youngsters will be held by members of the Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. The clinic is part of a new collaboration between Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, the NHL and USA Hockey to encourage American children to lead active and healthy lives.

Earlier in the week, Blackhawk players and staffers are slated to visit wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the White House official said.

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Chicago Democrat and hockey player, said that he’ll be at the White House to welcome the Hawks and take part in the street hockey workout on the South Lawn.

The day before the Hawks’ visit, Quigley and others will host a briefing on Capitol Hill on the “state of hockey in America.”

Quigley co-chairs the Congressional Hockey Caucus and celebrated with the Hawks in their locker room in Philadelphia the night they captured the cup in the series against the Flyers.

His briefing will be March 10, at 10 a.m. Chicago time in Room 2226 of the Rayburn Office Building.

NHL Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine, who played for teams in New York, and Sgt. 1st Class (Ret.) Joe Bowser, who plays competitive hockey after losing part of a leg in Iraq, will be among those at the briefing.

Quigley said the briefing will examine how to expand hockey participation.

kskiba@tribune.com

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