WASHINGTON -- The Bruins attempted to move past Tim Thomas’s decision yesterday to not participate in the White House ceremony as they completed their morning skate today.
“I think our group is all mature enough to look past that,” Claude Julien said. “Our group was very proud, honored, and privileged to have gone to the White House. We don’t mix politics with hockey. In this dressing room here, our job is to win hockey games and win hockey games as a team. That’s what we are.”
Thomas did not attend the White House event. On his Facebook page last night, Thomas said he declined to attend because he believes the federal government has grown out of control.
Thomas was not available for comment today.
Over the last two months, general manager Peter Chiarelli had several conversations with Thomas regarding his attendance. Chiarelli said he could have suspended Thomas, but elected not to do so. Thomas could also have been fined $2,500.
“We were honored and we went,” Julien said. “Everybody makes their decisions. He chose not to come. Whether we support him or don’t support him, that has nothing to do with hockey. What we are is a team and we’ll continue to be a team.”
The Bruins chose not to have Thomas attend the team’s charity appearance at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington. Director of communications Matt Chmura said Thomas’s appearance might have distracted from the charity event.
Steven Kampfer was the only other American on last year’s roster. Kampfer, a University of Michigan graduate, said he enjoyed the ceremony.
“It’s Timmy’s decision. It’s his beliefs,” Kampfer said. “It’s his right to do what he wants. We all had a great time going there and seeing the White House.
“For myself, it was a dream come true because I studied it in school. I was a political science major. To get to go to the White House yesterday and shake the President’s hand was awesome. That’s something I’ll never forget. It was exciting.”
The Bruins play the Capitals tonight at 7 p.m.