Capitol Hill to Face Off Against K Street— on the Ice

From left, Dayspring, Goodwin and Kerry skate in the 2012 game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The boys and girls of winter are set to face off at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the annual Congressional Hockey Challenge in Arlington, Va.  

This is the sixth year that "Team Lawmakers," comprised of members of Congress, federal staffers and campaign committee operatives, will cross hockey sticks with  "Team Lobbyists."  

The record headed into Wednesday is 3-2, in favor of the Team Lobbyists.  

The game will take place at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington. It's just a few blocks off  from the Ballston Metro. You can buy your $10 tickets here . Doors open at 6 p.m. and the puck drops at 7 p.m.  

It all started in back in 2009, with a group of lobbyists and Hill staffers who played informal Monday night pickup hockey.  

They eventually decided to channel their enthusiasm for the sport into a charity game modeled after the Congressional Baseball Game. Hence, the Congressional Hockey Challenge was born and it supported the Fort Dupont Hockey Club, a youth hockey group in Southeast Washington.  

Eventually, the National Hockey League and the Washington Capitals got involved, and the charities expanded to the NHL Scholarship  of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund  and  USA Warriors Hockey  (an injured veterans rehabilitation hockey program.)  

This game is not for the faint of heart.  

Illinois Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley is quite boastful about the fact that, over the course of his 48-year hockey career, he lost two teeth and has had six injury-induced surgeries.  

Indiana Republican Rep. Larry Bucshon has similar wounds. Bucshon picked up the game late in life, thanks to his son's interest. He missed the 2012 season due to a practice injury.  

"I tore my left ACL in the second practice before the game two years ago," he said. "I had to have surgery to fix it."  

Bucshon also marveled at the the cordial relationships that developed on his team.  

"It's a good event where partisanship isn't the issue," Bucshon said.  

This year, the Team Lawmakers roster expanded to include members of the Canadian Parliament. The hope is to expand the concept internationally.  

The biggest "bummer" in recent years, according to one of the Republican players, is Secretary of State John Kerry's ascension to the Cabinet. As a senator, Kerry was the undisputed star and brought a great deal of attention to the game, but his teammates attest to authentic athletic skill.  

"We miss John Kerry. ... I respect the fact that he had a couple of replacement surgeries and he's still out there. He showed up to staff meetings with bruises and stitches," Quigley said. "It's his fault he took the job. As postmaster general, he could play the game."  

But since he joined the Cabinet, his hockey availability is basically dependent on world peace.  

This year, it is Ukrainian turmoil keeping him off the ice.  

"I blame Putin," Quigley groused.  

Here are the rosters:  

Team Lawmakers  Team Captain: Secretary of State John Kerry Head Coach: Jack Way of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y. Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa. Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill. Gord Brown, member of Canadian Parliament Pat Brown, member of Canadian Parliament Rick Dykstra, member, Canadian Parliament Brad Dayspring National Republican Senatorial Committee staffer John Billings, from the office of Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich. Tim Regan, from office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives Gerrit Lansing, National Republican Congressional Committee staffer Jeff McEvoy, from the office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Mark Little of USA Warriors Steve Sandora, from the office of Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick, R-Pa. Tim Sheehan of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Jon Oehmen, from the office of Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas Michelle McGann, NRCC staffer Joel Brubaker, from the office of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. Bob Fischer, House Democratic Cloakroom staffer Steve Hedger, from the office of Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. Garrett Donovan, from the office of Rep. William Keating, D-Mass.  

Team Lobbyists Lesley Elliott of District City Consulting Brian Regan Sean O’Neill of Associated General Contractors of America Melissa Lavinson PG&E Nick Lewis of UPS Andrew Mills of Capital Management Initiatives Jeff Burton of Burton Kamins Advocacy John Cline of C2 GROUP Nelson Litterst of C2 GROUP Joe Bowser of USA Warriors Ian Bennitt of Ball Janik Kraig Siracuse of Park Strategies Tory Mazzola Chris Gullot of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. Chris Coleman of America's Natural Gas Alliance Andy Emerson of Holland & Knight Brian Cohen of Motion Picture Association of America John Goodwin of The Herald Group Rick Murphy of Richard Murphy & Associates Bret Barker of New West Technologies Mike Wertheimer Seth Webb of Google Kathleen Black of The Coca-Cola Company