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Washington Capitals going to White House ceremony on Monday

The Washington Capitals have accepted an invitation to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday to celebrate last June’s Stanley Cup championship, the team confirmed Tuesday.

A person familiar with Capitals plans but not authorized to speak about them publicly said players were told they were free to make their own decisions about whether they want to attend.

Several professional championship teams haven’t been invited to the White House during the Trump Administration after players said they wouldn’t go.

But in the week after winning the Cup, most players told the Washington Post they would visit the White House if invited.

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Forward Brett Connolly said publicly back then he would skip the White House visit. It’s unknown whether he will be with the team Monday.

Forward Devante Smith-Pelly, who is black and Canadian, told the National Post last June that he wouldn’t go because some statements by Trump “are straight-up racist and sexist.”

 Smith-Pelly was waived by the Capitals in February and sent to the American Hockey League in a salary cap move.

The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins did visit the White House in 2017, while the NBA champion Golden State Warriors were not invited to the White House in 2017 and 2018. Trump canceled the 2018 Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles’ visit when several players said they wouldn’t be attending.

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The MLB champion Boston Red Sox were scheduled to visit in February but postponed until May because of the government shutdown.

Some players on the 2019 Super Bowl champion New England Patriots players have said they would not go to the White House if their team is invited.

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