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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

CT lawmakers honor Bobcats, encourage Biden to invite men’s hockey team to White House

Twelve days after the Quinnipiac University men’s hockey team secured the first NCAA Division I national championship title in university history, Connecticut’s five representatives and two senators urged President Joe Biden to invite the Bobcats to the White House.

“As proud members of the Connecticut delegation, we join the entire state in celebrating the Quinnipiac Bobcats on their historic season and extraordinary victory,” the seven Connecticut lawmakers wrote in an April 20 letter to Biden. “We hope you are able to honor the Bobcats at the White House in recognition of their incredible achievements.”

Simultaneously, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy authored an April 20 resolution “commending and congratulating” not only the national championship-winning team, but the Quinnipiac fans, students and faculty.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, whose district encompasses Quinnipiac, is leading Connecticut Reps. Joe Courtney, Jim Himes, John Larson and Jahana Hayes in sponsoring a similar resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We are especially grateful that the Connecticut delegation and the Governor have approached President Biden to invite the men’s hockey team to the White House to celebrate their win of the national championship,” Quinnipiac President Judy Olian wrote in a statement to the Chronicle April 24.

The Senate resolution recognized the individual achievements of Quinnipiac sophomore forward Jacob Quillan, who scored 10 seconds into overtime in the national championship game on April 8 to power the Bobcats to a 3-2 win over the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Quillan earned this year’s NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award after the 21-year-old Nova Scotia, Canada, native’s five-goal performance in the Frozen Four set a Quinnipiac record for most goals scored in a single tournament.

The resolution also specifically commended head coach Rand Pecknold, who, at 56 years old, has spent more than half his life coaching the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team.

“Rand Pecknold, the head coach of the Quinnipiac Bobcats, has led the team for 29 years and transformed the Quinnipiac Bobcats from a Division II program to a National Division I powerhouse,” the resolution stated.

Pecknold, who has accumulated over 600 career victories in his nearly three decades as head coach, previously led the Bobcats to the Frozen Four tournament in 2013 and 2016. Under Pecknold’s leadership, the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team qualified for the NCAA Division I tournament in eight of the last 10 seasons.

Seven Connecticut lawmakers honored the Quinnipiac University men’s hockey team in Congress and authored a letter to President Joe Biden encouraging him to invite the Bobcats to the White House. (Cat Murphy)

Attributing the Bobcats’ championship win to “years of hard work and dedication,” the delegation’s letter to Biden also applauded the veteran Quinnipiac coach.

“As one of the former players who gathered together to watch the final game said, ‘Once you are on the team and you are alumni, you are family,’” the letter to Biden read. “Nothing encapsulates more the impact that Quinnipiac hockey under Coach Pecknold has had on so many people.”

Although Biden has not yet formally invited the Bobcats to the White House, it would be far from the first time a U.S. president celebrated a national championship-winning team at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Just weeks before the Connecticut lawmakers urged Biden to invite the Bobcats to the White House, the 46th president invited the University of Connecticut’s men’s basketball team and Louisiana State University’s women’s basketball team to celebrate their respective national championship titles in Washington, D.C.

“Celebrating this moment with a visit to the White House seems very apt and a wonderful milestone in our student-athletes’ lives, commemorating this historic season which has brought so much pride to the Bobcat community,” Olian wrote.

Quinnipiac previously commemorated the team’s national championship title at an informal ceremony on the York Hill Campus April 9 and at an official celebration at M&T Bank Arena April 10. The university also memorialized the team’s win with a national champions flag, which Pecknold helped hoist over the quad April 19.

In an April 12 Facebook post, Hamden Mayor Lauren Garrett noted that town officials began planning for a parade when the Bobcats reached the Frozen Four “in the hopes that they would go all the way.”

However, Quinnipiac officials rejected town plans to host a parade in the team’s honor.

“Ultimately Quinnipiac decided to celebrate their champions with a big event on Monday and they graciously invited the community to participate,” Garrett wrote in the Facebook post.

The university announced its decision to veto the town’s parade plans on Twitter April 12.

“Beyond the continued joyous mood throughout the Bobcat family, no further community-wide celebrations are planned,” the statement posted to the official Quinnipiac Twitter read.

The controversial tweet, which has amassed over 110,000 views as of publication, faced considerable backlash.

“The rally was the day after Easter… at 6pm on a workday. Seriously?” user @InvasiveKarma wrote in an April 13 response to the university’s statement.“CELEBRATE IT! Be proud!! This is a big deal!”

User @JoeKempsey, a 2021 Quinnipiac graduate, even posted a Twitter poll beneath Quinnipiac’s tweet to gauge the popularity of the university’s decision to veto parade plans. Approximately 95% of respondents to the April 12 poll — which received nearly 1,200 responses — voted in favor of a parade.

“QU has been terrible at engaging the community since 2015, when I was a student,” Quinnipiac alumnus @scott_erwin wrote in an April 12 tweet. “Whoever is on the board or committee, that voted against having a parade for an Ice Hockey NCAA Championship, in New England, is an absolute fool.”

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Cat Murphy
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