Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby will not be joining his teammates for their private visit with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday, saying he wanted to "stay true to his values."
"My family and myself, we believe in a world where humans are treated with respect regardless of your stature, what you’re born into," he told reporters on Friday.
"You're asked to choose what side you’re on, and I think it’s pretty clear what side I’m on."
The White House said this week that the Stanley Cup champions are scheduled to visit Trump on Monday and that it will be a private meeting in the Oval Office.
While most Capitals players - including captain Alexander Ovechkin - have already said that they would visit the White House, forwards Devante Smith-Pelly and Brett Connolly said last summer that they would skip the traditional champions' trip.
Smith-Pelly was waived by the Capitals last month prior to the trade deadline and sent to Hershey of the AHL.
Visiting the White House has been an NHL tradition for the Stanley Cup champions since 1991, when the Pittsburgh Penguins were invited by President George H.W. Bush.
The 2017 Stanley Cup champions Penguins accepted an invitation from Trump last season, citing respect for the office of the President. The team also attended White House ceremonies following Stanley Cup championships in 2009 and 2016 with Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The NBA's Golden State Warriors and NFL's Philadelphia Eagles didn’t visit Trump after winning championships.