Congress on Ice

Before Sarah Palin introduced the world to hockey moms, the game’s political prominence rested on the shoulders of Sen.

Before Sarah Palin introduced the world to hockey moms, the game’s political prominence rested on the shoulders of Sen. John Kerry, who lugged hockey gear and logged ice time as he crossed the nation during his 2004 presidential bid.He may have lost that content, but today—thanks to his prep-school-honed hockey skills—he won another.The Lawmakers—a team consisting of Kerry, a few other congressmen and a squad of ringers culled from congressional staffs—beat the Lobbyists today in what may be the first in an annual contest.John Goodwin, an NRA lobbyist who served as the game’s spokesman (as well as a right wing for his squad) said the game raised almost $30,000 for the Fort Dupont Hockey Club, a non-profit club providing D.C. kids with an opportunity to play organized ice hockey.The hockey wasn’t always pretty. It was a gentle game—some players played without pads—marked as much by face plants as fancy footwork.“It was interesting,” said Neal Henderson, the Fort Dupont program’s founder and the first African-American to play semi-pro hockey. “As to the players’ styles, you saw years of various types of hockey.”At 65, Kerry was probably the oldest player on the rink. But as the former Yale player skated his way to a near-assist late in the game, he earned impressed gasps from some Fort Dupont players.So how did Kerry feel after the game?“I survived,” he said.Goodwin said the game grew from casual acquaintances. Many of the players are members of area men’s leagues and play in informal pick-up games together Monday nights.“There’s a small universe of hockey players,” he said. “We thought if we could get everybody together we could do some good.”The Lawmakers, whose ranks included Representatives Brian Higgins (NY-27), Anthony Weiner (NY-9) and Patrick Murphy (PA-8), jumped out to an early lead. During the second period the Lobbyists tied the game before pulling ahead, 4-3. But in the final period, the Lawmakers poured on the firepower and won 6 goals to the Lobbyists’ 4.“We’re pretty disappointed,” Jeff Kimbell said afterward. Kimbell heads Jeffrey J. Kimbell & Associates, a medical lobbying firm. “We were expecting to win.”His team, he said, filled out with former Division 3 collegiate player, wasn’t quite enough for the Division 1 players the Lawmakers recruited.Of course, the old adage about whether you win or lose fit perfectly here—this was about more than one game.“It shows not all lobbyists are awful people,” said Kimbell, before skating off to prepare for next year’s match-up.

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