March 26, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Los Angeles Galaxy
WASHINGTON D.C. (March 26, 2013) - The Los Angeles Kings and Los Angeles Galaxy were honored by President Barack Obama in a duel ceremony celebrating the two championship squads earlier today at the White House. The NHL and MLS championship teams, both owned by AEG, each captured their respective league titles in 2012 with the Kings winning their first-ever Stanley Cup Championship on June 11, 2012, and the Galaxy capturing their second consecutive MLS Cup Championship on Dec. 1, 2012. Today's historic event marks the first time the White House has jointly recognized two Champions from the same city and the same ownership group.
Standing at a lectern between both of the teams, the Stanley Cup and Philip Anschutz (MLS) Trophy, President Obama commented, "I want to give a huge congrats to both the LA Kings & the LA Galaxy for bringing two championships to DC and for doing so much for your fans back in California. I hope both of these teams have a great rest of the season." The President went on to add, "We also found out that both of these teams are full of some pretty standup players and coaches. They are out in the community year round changing lives and making a difference. As LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena says 'Soccer is very much secondary, if we can have an impact on young kids then we want to be a part of that' and that is something that we all appreciate. Especially those of us who are parents and we are thrilled that you guys are sticking around to host a Q&A session with kids from all across the country."
Members from both teams, their respective coaching and management staffs along with Dan Beckerman, President and CEO of team owners AEG, were in attendance for the ceremony which took place in the White House East Room.
"On behalf of AEG, the LA Kings and LA Galaxy franchises and all of our great fans in the City of Los Angeles, it was sincerely an honor to be invited to the White House to commemorate the historic 2012 Championship Seasons of each of the teams," said Dan Beckerman, President and CEO, AEG, owners of the LA Kings and LA Galaxy. "We thank President Obama, who truly represents sports fans across the nation, for inviting both of our teams to participate in this first-ever dual ceremony and more importantly for recognizing the great work our athletes do off the ice and pitch in our community."
Following the ceremony, the players participated in a Q&A session attended by children from across the country as part of the Let's Move! initiative. Launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, Let's Move! is a comprehensive program dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.
"Visiting the White House was and amazing experience, especially as an American," said Dustin Brown, Captain of the LA Kings. "To see the history and prestige that this building represents was awesome. Meeting the president is not something you get to do every day so it was an overall great experience."
The ceremony featured remarks from President Obama about both teams. Kings Head Coach Darryl Sutter and Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager, Bruce Arena, each flanked the President and presented him with authentic team jerseys. The Kings also presented the President with an engraved replica Stanley Cup and the Galaxy presented an authentic Tiffany's championship ring and official soccer ball which the President playfully threw up in the air and bounced off his head to the cheers of the players and guests on-hand including children attending as guests of Let's Move!
"The opportunity to come to the White House once is special but to be able to come in consecutive years like we have is extraordinary, said Galaxy Forward Landon Donovan. "Our club is extremely proud to be a part of such a wonderful event."
To capitalize on the uniqueness of one ownership group operating two franchises each winning major professional league championships in the same year, today's ceremony was scheduled to allow the teams to appear together for the historic ceremony. Los Angeles-based AEG acquired the LA Kings in 1995 while the organization acquired the LA Galaxy in 1998.