The White House has broken from tradition and decided not to honor Union’s Men’s Ice Hockey team for their win during the 2014 NCAA Division I National Championship.
Rep. Paul Tonko confirmed this in an email on Tuesday, April 14. In the email, he voiced his dismay, stating, “I was extremely disappointed to hear from the White House — in a departure from prior years — that they had no plans to recognize the 2014 Frozen Four Champions … Last year’s Union Dutchmen put together an incredible season capped off with a storybook victory over Minnesota, and I believe the White House should be consistent in the recognition of our nation’s student athletes.”
While Men’s Ice Hockey Head Coach Rick Bennett declined to comment, Director of Athletics Jim McLaughlin did make a statement. “While we were disappointed that the team did not participate in the White House visit, we certainly understand the many obligations of the White House and our President. It does not diminish what this team accomplished and will be a lifelong memory for our team, our campus, our alumni and all of the supporters of this program,” said McLaughlin.
Sean Magers, Tonko’s communications director, stated that they had attempted to schedule a date for the team to visit the White House for the past year, before this announcement, and that Tonko’s office was not given a reason for why the event will not occur.
On March 10, 2014, the White House honored the 2013 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey champions, Yale University.
The entire team was invited to the White House, where they met a number of politicians, including Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama. There was also a ceremony held on the South Lawn recognizing the hard work of the athletes and congratulating them on their title.
In addition to honoring Yale’s men’s ice hockey team last year, the White House also recognized the University of North Carolina’s women’s soccer and lacrosse teams, Princeton University’s fencing and field hockey teams, University of Southern California’s men’s and women’s water polo teams, University of Connecticut’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as a number of other teams throughout the year.
The men’s ice hockey title marked Union’s first Divison I National Championship title in the school’s history. The Dutchmen defeated Minnesota 7-4 last spring.
The White House is set to honor the Ohio State Buckeye’s football team for their January win over Oregon this month, but has announced no further plans to recognize other championship teams.
On April 11, 2015, the Providence College Friars became the newest NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey champions, defeating Boston University 4-3. The U.S. Senate approved a resolution this past week honoring Providence’s men’s ice hockey team for their victory.