President Obama thanks Sweden for Hawks

Chicago and its sports teams are never too far off President Barack Obama’s mind.

During Obama’s visit to Sweden on Wednesday, Obama couldn’t help but thank the country for providing a number of its home-grown players to the 2013 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

“I should mention on behalf of hockey fans back home in Chicago, I have to say how grateful our championship Blackhawks are for their several teammates who hail from Sweden,” said Obama during a joint press conference with Sweden prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, according to a White House press release. “So that’s been an excellent export that we gladly accept.”

The Blackhawks benefited from having four Swedish players last season. Swedish-born forwards Marcus Kruger and Viktor Stalberg and defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya assisted in the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup season. Swedish-born backup goaltender Henrik Karlsson was also on the team’s playoff roster, but did not appear in any games.

Hjalmarsson, Kruger, Oduya and Stalberg all spent a day with the Stanley Cup in Sweden in August.

The Blackhawks will return Kruger, Hjalmarsson and Oduya to their 2013-14 roster and also have five other Swedish players in their system. The Blackhawks selected three players from Sweden in the 2013 draft.