BOSTON (CBS) — When Brad Marchand made the Bruins’ roster last season, there were many die-hard fans who still didn’t know his name. So you can imagine how shocking it is a year later to hear the President of the United States mention you by name in front of the whole world.

That’s what Marchand experienced in January at the White House, with Barack Obama referring to the scrappy winger as “the little ball of hate.”

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Marchand told Sports Illustrated afterward that the unexpected mention from the leader of the free world nearly caused him to faint.

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“It really caught me off guard,” he told SI’s Michael Farber. “I almost blacked out there, [but] it was all in good fun.”

The quote is part of an extensive feature on Marchand that details his journey Nova Scotia to the Bruins’ top line. While Marchand didn’t seem too enthralled with being the reincarnation of Pat Verbeek, he seemed willing to accept any name the president bestows upon him.

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“I guess if the President of the United States gives you a nickname, you have to stick with it,” Marchand told the magazine.