Tim Thomas, one of only two Americans who played on last season’s National Hockey League champion Boston Bruins, did not attend a White House ceremony on Monday honouring the team’s achievement.
Goaltender Thomas is believed to have snubbed the ceremony with US President Barack Obama, a Democrat, because Thomas is a Republican, the political rivals of Obama, and fan of a conservative talk show host who is an Obama critic.
“We’re like a family. We have our issues,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told the Boston Globe. “You deal with them, move on, and try and support everyone.
“I can require someone to attend a team event. If they don’t, I can suspend him. I’m not suspending Tim. Whatever his position is, it isn’t reflective of the Boston Bruins nor my own. But I’m not suspending him.”
Thomas broke the NHL single-season save percentage record last season in leading the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL playoff Most Valuable Player in the process.
Thomas, 36, went 16-9 in the playoffs with a 1.98 goals-against average. The Bruins defeated Vancouver four games to three in the best-of-seven final.
Bruins team president Cam Neely said Thomas made his own choice and his teammates made their own choice to attend.
“Everybody has their own opinions and political beliefs and he chose not to join us,” Neely told ESPN. “We certainly would have liked to have him come and join us but that’s his choice.”