Feb. 9, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Heard on the Hill: Break the Ice

Think the rivalry between Team Canada and Team USA was intense? That’s nothing compared to the drama expected in tonight’s historic hockey matchup between Members of Congress and lobbyists.

Members and Congressional staffers will face off against K Street denizens in the second annual Congressional Hockey Challenge at the Fort DuPont Ice Arena. Reps. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) are expected to suit up, promising a thrilling game that will raise money for the Fort DuPont Ice Hockey Club, a local program serving inner-city youth.

“I’m looking forward to the ultimate hat trick — playing the sport I love, supporting a great charity and putting Washington’s influence-peddlers on ice,” Quigley says. “Besides, it’s about time these lobbyists were on the receiving end of a check.”

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who starred in last year’s game, won’t play because of an injury, but he still plans to attend, HOH hears. Also expected at the rink: National Hockey League legend Willie O’Ree, current and former members of the Washington Capitals, and the team’s broadcast team, who will provide play-by-play coverage of the matchup.

And along with taking down lobbyists (on the ice, at least), Higgins, Quigley and Terry will officially launch the Congressional Hockey Caucus, a new group that aims to expand youth hockey programs.

Terry tells HOH that hockey promotes values such as discipline, teamwork and fitness while also helping keep kids off the street. The Congressman has fond memories of the game, recalling when he was young, city officials often flooded the local basketball court during the winter to create a public rink.

“It wasn’t organized. It was always just the neighborhood kids that would get on the ice, and we would play all day,” Terry says. “And that’s what we’re trying to support.”

Higgins also began playing hockey as a youngster in Buffalo, when he and his pals from the neighborhood would play pickup games at the local ice rink. “Decades later, my heart still starts pounding with the first step onto the ice. I look forward to another fun game ... and hope to chalk up another win,” he says.

Terry declines to pick a winner. “I predict no one will go to the hospital,” he jokes.

Grunge Groupies. Spotted among the headbangers at the Alice in Chains concert at DAR Constitution Hall last week were grunge groupies John Murray and Brad Dayspring, who by day are the press guys for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

A tipster tells us that the duo had second-row seats and sat squarely in front of legendary guitarist Jerry Cantrell, who was apparently sufficiently impressed with their headbanging proficiency to give them guitar picks. The tipster even swears that Cantrell gave Murray a “knowing nod” after spotting his T-shirt memorializing the band’s former singer, Layne Staley, who died of a drug overdose in 2002.

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