Hockey star skates clear of White House 'over rights'

A professional ice hockey player has snubbed President Barack Obama by refusing to join the rest of his team at a White House reception honouring their victory in the Stanley Cup.

Tim Thomas, goalkeeper with the Boston Bruins, said he decided to stay away because the US federal government had "grown out of control, threatening the rights, liberties and property of the people".

He added that his decision was "not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country".

Mr Obama was saluting the Boston Bruins for lifting the Stanley Cup after their victory in last year's National Hockey League championship.

Mr Thomas won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalkeeper during the season. The Bruins president, Cam Neely, said the team was disappointed with Mr Thomas's move and that his views did not reflect those of the organisation.

The Bruins won their first Stanley Cup title in 39 years last June after a bruising seven-game final series against the Vancouver Canucks. It was the latest in a string of Boston sports championships, including the Celtics basketball team in 2008, the Red Sox baseball team in 2007 and the New England Patriots gridiron team in 2005.