For six members of the U.S. Congress, Thursday figures to be the usual full day when the Legislature is in session. But there is, let's say, potential for a more taxing day than most. That's because Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and five U.S. Representatives are all playing in Thursday night's third annual Congressional Hockey Challenge at 6 p.m. A team of Congressional members and staffers will face off against a squad of lobbyists.
Both teams have been practicing for the big night. Anyone who know adult league hockey knows there will be some serious shifts in the proceedings along with both fun and labored breathing. The public is welcome. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and there is a suggested $10 donation at the door. Proceeds go to the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club and Fort Dupont Ice Arena.
But first Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) will be co-hosting, along with Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), the Congressional Hockey Caucus Policy Briefing on Capitol Hill at the Rayburn House Office Building. Quigley and Higgins, who will both line up tonight, will speak along with Terry. Invited speakers include NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (who will host NHL Hour from the Verizon Center at his usual 6 p.m. Thursday time slot on NHL.com and XM Radio), NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine, NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes, Michael Kanters, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, Joe Bowser, Hockey is for Everyone ambassador and Kirk Bauer, president of Disabled Sports USA.
Quigley founded the Caucus after winning a special election for the Chicago north side seat formerly held by Rahm Emanuel, who, of course, went on to become President Obama's chief of staff and recently elected mayor of Chicago. The purpose of the Caucus is to promote youth hockey, plus provide hockey equipment for recreational and therapeutic Wounded Warriors programs for injured military personnel.
Other members of Congress playing tonight include Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.) and Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), who was an NHL official for two seasons.
-- Bob Condor