Power Play

Out of the Suites, Onto the Sheet

Maybe it takes an old C-SPAN guy to give the Congressional Hockey Challenge the thorough, in-depth coverage it deserves. 

This annual contest between lawmakers and lobbyists is now in its third year and proceeds from the event go a very worthy cause, the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club and Ice Arena

The first two games were split – the legislators won 6-4 in 2009, and the influence peddlers came out on top last year, 7-2.  These games feature fierce defensive struggles reminiscent of an All-Star Game and tonight was no exception.

The Hill team, wearing the road whites, was comprised of 22 elected officials and staff.  The program didn’t list a Hill captain, but Senator John Kerry (with no helmet shield or mask) wore #1. 

No one mistook Kerry for Varly; he was easily the tallest guy on the ice, like Chara tall.  With two new artificial hips he came ready to play and was probably the only guy in the arena with more money than Leonsis (Thanks Teresa!).

For the K Street Krew, it was a co-ed team of 20, with PG&E’s Melissa Lavinson representing the ladies on the ice. The Lobbyists, appropriately clad in black, were coached by former Cap and current CSN analyst, Alan May. 

While all proceeds go to Fort Dupont, we can’t help but think someone’s client was being billed $500 an hour for the evening’s play.

The warm-ups were brief and both teams took out their shared frustration with the media by slamming pucks into the glass, scaring the small reporter contingent at the Zamboni entrance. 

The players lined up at center ice and were welcomed by Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, who asked them who was running the government while they were at Verizon.  After some brief remarks he said he hoped no one got hurt and then turned the puck over to Caps stalwart, Mike Knuble, for the ceremonial drop.  A solid 45 minutes of slow-motion hockey followed.

K Street drew first blood at 7:51 into the first with left winger, C2 Group’s Nelson Litterst, finding the twine.  Minutes later, another lobbyist score made it 2-0. 

The second got off to a rough start for the Hill – a bench penalty, too many men on the ice.  Later, lobbyist assistant captain Jeff Kimbell of Magnum Entertainment, was on his way to a highlight reel breakaway goal before wiping out in front of the net, also taking down the zebra, underscoring the fact that K Street hates regulators.

Our game notes kinda suck – since this game involved lobbyists, we thought it only fitting to drop by the Capital Grille (Hi Mr. Speaker!) for a couple of pops before stumbling into Verizon, so we don’t know who to credit on the Hill squad with a buzzer beating shot in the second.

Intermission entertainment was provided by three NHL mascots: our very own Slapshot, Buffalo’s Sabretooth and Chicago’s Tommyhawk. 

We’ve taken our shots at the Caps’ 00 before, but after seeing the scruffy Sabre and molting Hawk mascot, we’ll forever hold our beaks.

We missed some of the third because we were hovering over the silent auction table hoping to snap up a signed Sasha jersey at a good price.  No luck. Who did we think we were trying to compete with this crowd?

There was some more scoring and the game ended up 5-3 in favor of the lobbyists. They outshot the legislators 36-22.  Let’s Go K Street, Let’s Go Caps!

It was a fun night, but for some real aggressive play, we suggest a media – lawmaker challenge so the adversarial relationship they have during the day can truly erupt at night. In the crowd was the National Journal’s Hill Correspondent, Major Garrett.  A skater in his youth, Major said he’d consider playing if such a game was organized.

Also on behalf of the Fourth Estate, Politico’s man about town, Patrick Gavin, was on hand to cover the game. 

Wearing a shiny new pair of skates, his plan was to interview Kerry on the ice after the game. 

New skates, first time on the ice in ages; what could possibly go wrong?  We’ll certainly end up reading and seeing it here on Friday.

Oh yeah, we play the Canes on Friday.  F them.

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About Craig

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One Response to Power Play

  1. Peter Hassett says:

    Great coverage

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