WASHINGTON -- Tim Thomas, one of two Americans on the Bruins' roster, chose not to attend today's ceremony at the White House, saying he believes the federal government is “out of control.”
Thomas issued the following statement about his absence: "I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers[sic] vision for the Federal government. Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL."
When asked if the incident overshadowed the visit, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli answered "We're like a family. We have our issues.”
"You deal with them, move on, and try and support everyone. It may or may not. If it does, I hope it doesn't. The guys seemed to enjoy it. I enjoyed it," Chiarelli said.
All other players took part in the visit. Chiarelli said attendance today was not mandatory.
"I can require someone to attend a team event. If they don't, I can suspend him," Chiarelli said. "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."
The Bruins attended the White House and visited with President Obama to celebrate last year’s championship, a visit that is customary for the championship team of a major sport.
President Obama was presented with a Bruins jersey with number 11 at the event.
Mark Recchi, Tomas Kaberle, and Shane Hnidy, who are no longer on the Bruins, attended. First-year Bruins Joe Corvo and Benoit Pouliot did not participate in the East Room ceremony.
Thomas and Steven Kampfer are the only two Americans from last year’s team.
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story referred to Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli as the team’s coach. The team is coached by Claude Julien, not Chiarelli.