Politics

Will Obama come to a Capitals hockey game?

Does Barack Obama hate ice hockey?

The most ostentatiously sports-loving president in recent memory, Obama has attended numerous sporting events around town, including college basketball games, Wizards NBA games, and Nationals baseball games. He’s famous for playing a ton of golf and this week, he invited ESPN to film him filling in his March Madness brackets.

In August, he event went to a Mystics game, the professional women’s basketball team which for years boasted about being the league’s “attendance champions” in banners hanging from the Verizon Center’s rafters.

But for the hottest ticket in town, the Washington Capitals hockey team, he’s been conspicuously absent. Sunday, his home town Chicago Blackhawks came to D.C. – and even visited the White House as reigning Stanley Cup champions – but Obama missed the Sunday afternoon game.

Obama promised Capitals owner Ted Leonsis in August he would attend a Caps game this season, but with only four home games left in the season, time is growing short (there’s still the playoffs, of course).

The National Hockey League wants Obama there. Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, told The Daily Caller, “There’s an open invitation. Leonsis has reached out and said anytime the president would like to come to a game he’s more than welcome. And hopefully sometime he will avail himself.”

Hockey-loving members of Congress want him there.

“We gotta get him there! I’m gonna get him there! I’m gonna get him there!” said Sen. John Kerry at the congressional hockey game last week. Reps. Anthony Weiner and Patrick Meehan also called on Obama to attend.

Leonsis wants him there, and thinks he’ll come.

“I am sure that our president will come to a Caps game; he loves sports; this is his second home and we are just awaiting a nod from his scheduler to get him to Barack the Red,” Leonsis told TheDC.

But will Obama, who has never been to a hockey game, show his face at the “Phone Booth?”

For Caps fans, it was the president’s stop at a Mystics game that really stung.

The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg wrote Obama “seems like he’s going out of his way to spite the Barack the Red movement.”

He was referring to a petition drive by a Capitals blog to get Obama to attend a game.

“The President treats hockey like some of us treated the girl with body odor at prom; he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings, but he’s not going out of his way to dance with her either,” the Barack the Red site says.

A spokesman for Obama declined to comment.