WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is honoring the Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins, calling them “true champions and incredible patriots.”

gettyimages 859857722 Stanley Cup Champion Penguins Visit Trump At White House

US President Donald Trump delivers a speech during an event at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 10, 2017, honouring the Pittsburgh Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup victory. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump welcomed the Penguins into the Oval Office on Tuesday. He celebrated their second consecutive championship in the East Room of the White House and singled out the achievements of playoff MVP Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and American Phil Kessel, among others.

Trump has grabbed a number of sports headlines in recent weeks, including his criticism of NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem and his decision to disinvite the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to the White House.

He joked that Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle should help him renegotiate NAFTA but avoided any talk about other sports. The Penguins are the fourth championship team and third pro team to visit Trump at the White House after the NFL’s New England Patriots, Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs and college football’s Clemson Tigers.

Crosby, coach Mike Sullivan and other members of the Penguins said this visit had nothing to do with politics. The team said in a statement it respected the tradition of visiting the White House.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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