BALLSTON, Va. — Canadians and Minnesotans are some of the nicest people you can meet — unless they have a hockey stick in their hands.
The evidence was apparent at Wednesday night’s 7th Annual Congressional Hockey Challenge. The Lawmakers and Lobbyists came into the contest tied with three challenge wins each. The Lawmakers took back the title Wednesday here at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, winning 3-2. It was in no small part thanks to the Northerners, newbies, and a little Led Zeppelin. The game opened with an operatic rendition of “O Canada” by Speaker John A. Boehner’s Chief of Staff Mike Sommers. As memorable as his performance was, it was overshadowed by the talented, young Zach McEvoy’s “Star Spangled Banner.”
At least four of the Lawmakers hail from the Great White North, including GOP Reps. Erik Paulsen and Tom Emmer from Minnesota, and Canadian Members of Parliament Gord Brown and Rick Dykstra. Apparently, they are not sick of ice yet.
Also representing their districts on the ice were Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., John Katko, R-N.Y., and Rep. Larry Bucshon, R–Ind.
Paulsen confessed while he grew up playing hockey on lakes, he had never actually played organized hockey until he came out to Washington, D.C. “They just assume anyone from Minnesota plays hockey,” he said.
However, the pasty-white ice-people were only four members of the team. Robert MacGregor, who did not play last year, was one of the game’s stars. MacGregor, who works for Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., scored the first goal of the night.
The Lawmakers remained one point ahead until the third period, when things got interesting. After scoring two more points, the Lawmakers began to relax. Leading 3-0, they were totally unprepared for the Lobbyists, who scored two goals in less than a minute.
With the clock running down, the Lobbyists put everyone on offense in a last-ditch effort to win back the title, but the Lawmakers held their own.
Their pre-game ritual no doubt helped the Lawmakers' win. “The locker room gets pretty intense,” Paulsen said.
He added “We knew we were tied 3-3 coming into this series, so there was a lot of rock music playing inside. … It was a lot of Led Zeppelin going on.”
The Congressional Hockey Challenge raises money for three organizations. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund connects students attending historically black colleges and universities to education and employment opportunities. The Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club offers ice hockey to “local and inner-city youth,” ages 8-17. The third organization, USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program, provides opportunities for wounded warriors to participate in ice hockey. Whatever it was that helped the Lawmakers win, the audience was treated to an excellent game.
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