Reps. John Katko, Pat Meehan, Erik Paulsen and Tom Emmer pose with Lawmakers teammate Peter Bondra after defeating the Lobbyists in the annual Congressional Hockey Challenge. (Photos by Chris Gordon)
When you hear that someone famous is a hockey fan, it has novelty, something not reserved for fans of baseball, basketball, and football. While we may be absorbed in the community, hockey is the smallest of all major professional sports in the United States. Many Americans have never watched it. Fewer have tried it. On Wednesday, however, it was featured at American’s center of power. In the afternoon, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman went to the Hill to meet with members of Congressional Hockey Caucus and announce Thurgood Marshall scholarship recipients. In the evening, four of those congressmen played in the seventh annual Congressional Hockey Challenge. Representatives John Katko (R-NY), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), and Pat Meehan (R-PA) competed for the Lawmakers. They were joined on their team by former Capitals player Peter Bondra (RW-Slovakia) as well as administration officials, congressional staffers and Canadian Parliament member Gord Brown.
Wednesday is Alan May‘s birthday, so before he hit the road with the team CSN Washington preemptively gave him a birthday cake. If you were wondering if it went better than the disastrous time Locker gave Joe B a cake, you’d be right.
In front of an empty arena, May was surprised by friends with a custom-made cake, featuring an old hockey card, from the DC Cake Room.
Bondra scores late in the game. (Photos by Chris Gordon)
This year’s NHL Winter Classic has not had much buildup. Aside from the game, there isn’t much going on. The lack of an official alumni game — which had become a tradition at Winter Classics — angered and vexed many fans. Washington cancelled this year’s Caps Convention, saying they wanted to focus on Winter Classic events and has been hyping its former players all year long, with this season being the team’s fortieth anniversary. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, and Caps owner Ted Leonsis have all given competing answers as to why the event didn’t occur. Nevertheless, a group of former Caps, media members, and As Seen on TV people like NBC’s Washington Amelia Segal, took to the Nationals Park ice on Tuesday afternoon as part of an informal skate that came together in the past few weeks.
“I guess we all unfairly assumed that there would be one,” Alan May, who played in the game, said of an official alumni game, noting that Rod Langway and numerous former Blackhawks and Capitals expressed interest. “There’s nothing that can be done about it.”
While there will be no Alumni Game at the Winter Classic this year, more than a dozen former Caps will participate in a fan reception and open house at the Hilton Garden Inn on New Year’s Eve. That’s good news. According to The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt, several big names will be in attendance, including Hall of Famer Rod Langway and CSN analyst Alan May.
We did some digging and a source tell us that HOF’er Larry Murphy, CSN’s Craig Laughlin, former 60-goal scorer Dennis Maruk, Al Jensen, Kevin Kaminski, Dave Christian, and others will also be there to hang out with fans.
The event is free of charge and open to the public, though you are encouraged to RSVP via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. It will last from 5 until 8 PM on the 31st. The hotel is located at 815 14th Street N.W.
I’d go just to dominate Alan May at table top hockey, but that’s just me.
Saturday at Harry Grove Stadium was Hockey Day. The Frederick Keys staff wore hockey gear (I’m wagging my finger at you, girl in Malkin shirsey), and two former Washington Capitals, Craig Laughlin and Alan May, threw out the ceremonial first pitches and signed autographs for fans on the concourse.
Before the first pitches were thrown, however, there was some intrigue.
The night before, during the Caps telecast, Laughlin promised to CSN Washington’s Joe Beninati that he would zing the ball into home plate going “105.”
As you guys know, we’ve been tracking Joe B.’s suit of the night for years. We have an unhealthy obsession with how the guy looks. Thankfully, Joe B. wasn’t creeped out too much.
Two weeks ago, I joined Beninati and Alan May at DePandi, his tailor’s shop in Chevy Chase. Joe B. brought along a number of his favorite suits to show us, as well as a few to try on me. Yeah, I got dressed by Joe Beninati. Be jealous.