NEW YORK. The National Hockey League today awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy to Barack Obama, saying that while the President had never actually played hockey, the first nine months of his administration had changed the tone and tenor of the game for the better.
“President Obama has brought hope to scrawny forwards who face punishment each night from brawny defensemen and bruising enforcers,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “While it is unusual to name the winner less than a month into the season, Mr. Obama’s influence on ‘the coolest game on earth’ has been immeasurable.”
The Lady Byng Trophy is awarded annually to the hockey player adjudged to have exhibited the best sportsmanship and most gentlemanly conduct in the league. It is considered the hockey equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize, and past winners have included Stan Mikita of the Chicago Blackhawks, Obama’s home team, and Henry Kissinger of the Washington Capitals.
Traditionalists groused that Obama should not receive the award because he doesn’t know the basic but somewhat complicated rules of the game, such as icing, but Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel disagreed. “Let me give you three good reasons why the President deserves this trophy,” he said. “First, nobody understands icing. Second, there is no second reason. And third, blow it out your shorts.”