WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Paul Tonko asked the White House today to reconsider its recent decision to forego an official ceremony congratulating the Union College Dutchmen and the Clarkson Golden Knights as the 2014 National Champions in Men’s and Women’s College Ice Hockey, respectively.
Union College and Clarkson University, both Upstate New York schools, won upset victories against the Minnesota men’s and women’s ice hockey teams in the championship game in each of their tournaments in 2014.
“The Union and Clarkson College teams did phenomenally last season and made Upstate New York proud – and they deserve to be recognized for their hard work and team efforts by the White House in the way conference champions are traditionally honored. So we are urging the President to reconsider his decision to forego this annual ceremony and acknowledge the inspiring victories and seasons these teams have earned by attending what is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime moment for these inspiring athletes,” said Senator Schumer.
“I am proud to congratulate the Union College Dutchman and Clarkson Golden Knights on a very successful season,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The student athletes and coaching staff showed great pride, effort and resolve. I hope the White House joins us in recognizing the hard work and determination of these champions.”
“I am both a proud graduate of Clarkson University and a proud representative for Union College in the House of Representatives,” said Congressman Tonko. “These schools, their student athletes, coaches and administrations are a reminder that it does not matter how big you are or if the odds are in your favor, you can achieve success if you work hard and believe in one another. Our teams exhibited an incredible amount of drive and determination, and the White House should recognize those efforts.”
Clarkson (31-5-5 in 2014) became the first team from outside the Women’s College Hockey Association to win the NCAA Championship, upsetting the defending two-time national champion Minnesota Golden Gophers by a score of 5-4. Union (32-6-4 in 2014) won its first title, also against perennial college hockey powerhouse Minnesota, by a score of 7-4.
Until this year, the White House routinely honored the NCAA National Champions in both men’s and women’s ice hockey, most recently holding ceremonies for the 2013 Yale and Minnesota teams.
The Senators and Congressman sent the letter, copied below, to President Obama today.
Dear Mr. President:
We write to urge the White House to reconsider its recent decision to forego an official ceremony congratulating the Union College Dutchmen as the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey National Champions, and the Clarkson University Golden Knights as the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey National Champions.
Union’s journey to the 2014 Frozen Four was a historic one, ending in an overwhelming upset victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers, a traditional college hockey powerhouse, by a score of 7-4. The Dutchmen’s storybook season and unlikely path to collegiate hockey’s top prize is just one of many reasons for the White House to avoid breaking with tradition and honor coach Rick Bennett and his team, as it has done with previous champions in years past, including Yale, Boston College, and Minnesota.
To win the 2014 National Championship, Clarkson University defeated the University of Minnesota 5–4 in the national championship game, in the process becoming the fourth school to have won a National Collegiate championship. This championship was the first by a team not from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association as well as the first by a team from the Eastern United States.
The opportunity to meet the President of the United States in a ceremony that honors our nation’s student athletes who reach the pinnacle of their sport is a time honored tradition. We are joined by Union College President, Stephen Ainlay and Clarkson University President Tony Collins, in respectfully asking you to bestow this honor on the 2014 Union College men’s and Clarkson University women’s hockey teams, and we thank you very much for your consideration.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
United States Senator
Paul D. Tonko
Member of Congress