WASHINGTON - Scott Darling sheepishly waved to the East Room audience on Thursday morning, moments after President Barack Obama asked him to do so.
The Blackhawks backup goaltender performed a random act of kindness earlier this month in Arizona. Plenty read the story, which went viral online; on Thursday, Obama recognized Darling for it.
The president singled out Darling and former Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen during the team’s visit to the White House. Timonen, who hoisted his first Stanley Cup last June when the Blackhawks won their third in six seasons, was honored for overcoming the blood clots that almost cost him his final year. Obama then spoke of Darling helping a man in Arizona earlier this month; Darling set the man up in a hotel for a month, giving him time to get back on his feet.
“I couldn’t have more respect for Scott’s modesty, but now that it’s out there, I think it’s a good deed that bears repeating. A champion reached out to help somebody who needed a hand, even though he didn’t have to, even though nobody was looking, even though he wasn’t asking anybody for credit,” Obama said. “I’d like to think that reflects something about our city, about Chicago; it’s a very American thing to do. So Scott, I want to say thank you.”
Neither Darling nor Timonen were made available to the media following the Cup ceremony, but fellow Blackhawks talked of the moment.
“It’s awesome. That’s what it means to be a hockey player and, at the end of the day what makes winning a championship so special is that you’re surrounded by guys like that,” Jonathan Toews said. “The fact that the president highlighted that, I think, shows what type of leader he is; a lot of respect for that. It’s a cool thing for the two of those guys to get a little shout-out in that moment there.”