Blackhawks headed to the White House for a third time

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President Barack Obama checks out a Blackhawks jersey presented to him by Jonathan Toews on Nov. 4, 2013. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Vinnie Hinostroza has impeccable timing. Called up in the wake of Marian Hossa’s lower-body injury, Hinostroza showed up on a game day, hopped a plane to play in Madison Square Garden, heads to the White House on Thursday, then is off to Minneapolis for an outdoor game on Sunday.

“Yeah, it’s crazy,” said Hinostroza, a native of Bartlett. “I get to the meet the president tomorrow. I’ve never even been to Washington, D.C., so it’s definitely going to be cool. Everything’s happening so fast. I’m just excited to be here.”

Hinostroza is one of four Americans on the current roster, along with Patrick Kane, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Scott Darling.

“It’ll be a pretty special moment to meet the president,” said van Riemsdyk, a New Jersey native. “Really looking forward to it. I have my dad in town, and we were talking about how cool it will be, and how special it is, and what an honor it is to meet the president.”

For Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Brent Seabrook, it’ll be their third White House trip.

“You say it every time, you don’t know when you’ll ever get the chance again,” Toews said. “I think we’re all looking forward to it.

But while the Hawks have visited President Barack Obama three times now, he has yet to return the favor.

“Maybe we’ll work on him to come to the United Center and see us play,” Joel Quenneville said.

Asked today if Obama was a hockey fan, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president was not a “regular viewer of the sport.” Beyond that, Earnest was nothing if not diplomatic — well, except for a dig at Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

“This particular president is a sports fan,” he said. “And I think we all appreciate the amount of athleticism and skill that’s required to excel in that sport. Maybe the next president will be somebody who was born in Canada, and will have an even greater appreciation for that sport and the skill that it requires. But this president is certainly proud of his hometown Chicago Blackhawks, and is looking forward to welcoming them here. I don’t think there are too many other sports teams that have come to the White House three different times for winning championships. The UConn women’s basketball team comes to mind as a team that might have broken that record. But certainly the president is proud of his hometown team and looking forward to welcoming them here.”

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