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Lawmakers best lobbyists again at hockey charity event

U.S. women Olympians join the contest as Lawmakers get fifth straight win

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., poses with, from left, Megan Keller, Haley Skarupa and Hayley Scamurra, members of the U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team, at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., on Wednesday. The three Olympians joined the Lawmakers and Lobbyists for the 2023 Congressional Hockey Challenge.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., poses with, from left, Megan Keller, Haley Skarupa and Hayley Scamurra, members of the U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team, at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., on Wednesday. The three Olympians joined the Lawmakers and Lobbyists for the 2023 Congressional Hockey Challenge. (Mark Burnett/CQ Roll Call)

In an 8-3 rout, the team known as the Lawmakers on Wednesday put their rivals, the Lobbyists, on ice at the 13th Congressional Hockey Challenge, a charity event that works to advance access to hockey.

The Lawmakers this year were made up of one actual member of Congress, Rep. Tom Emmer, and filled out with congressional staff and others with connections to Capitol Hill. They started strong and secured their fifth straight win — along with bragging rights they carry to next year.

Both sides employed the services of Olympians from the U.S. Women’s National Team. Haley Skarupa, a 2018 gold medalist, secured the puck for the Lawmakers on the opening faceoff. From there, the team set a fast pace and put strong pressure on their opponents’ net. 

Robert MacGregor, a professional staff member with the House Natural Resources Committee, scored the first goal of the night for the Lawmakers to the delight of the crowd at the Medstar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington.

Playing off that momentum, seconds later, William Bensur — press secretary for Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan. — gave the Lawmakers a 2-0 lead.

The Lobbyists’ frustrations erupted in a brief shoving match between an unidentified Lobbyist and Lawmakers captain Tim Regan, a senior assistant tally clerk from the House Clerk’s Office.

Emmer, a Minnesota Republican and House majority whip, received a lot of playing time for the Lawmakers. Toward the end of the first period, Emmer got into a more playful shoving match during a faceoff against lobbyist Brian Cohen of Cohen Strategic Alliances.

With the first period over and the Lawmakers up 4-0, the team’s top line appeared to be too much for the Lobbyists to handle.

In the second period, the Lawmakers grew their lead to 7-0. Emmer assisted Skarupa on the team’s sixth goal of the night, maintaining the shutout despite numerous attempts by the Lobbyists to make it on the board.

At the top of the third period, Lobbyists co-captain Nick Lewis, senior vice president at UPS’ legislative affairs office, scored the team’s first goal of the night. Minutes later, Cohen and Tory “Sal” Mazzola, a communications executive at Orstead, scored two more goals for the Lobbyists.

With that mounting comeback, the Lobbyists pulled their goalie. However, with one minute left, the Lawmakers’ Truman Reed, a legislative assistant with Texas GOP Rep. Monica De La Cruz, tried to drive in a goal but was stopped when a Lobbyist threw a stick. Reed received a penalty shot and successfully scored, giving the Lawmakers their eighth and final goal.

The event benefited the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association, the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program, Capital Beltway Warriors Hockey program and the Tampa Warriors Hockey Heals event.

After the game, Emmer, 61, said that on the bench “politics don’t matter” and that he thinks he will be playing well into his 70s.

“For me, as you get older, just being able to come out and compete with these guys and have fun and know that you’re doing it for a cause that matters, whether it’s Fort Dupont inner-city youth or the Wounded Warriors or women’s sports, it’s a great cause,” he said.

Next year he wants the challenge to be on an in-session day to get other members on the ice.

Lewis echoed Emmer’s comments, saying, “I think the scoreboard was misleading. It’s a very competitive game, it’s lots of fun, but at the end of it I would’ve liked to have notched a Lobbyist victory today, but the real winners are those charities.” When asked what the Lobbyists will do differently next year, Lewis said they will “try to get less old and fat.”

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., skates during the 2023 Congressional Hockey Challenge. (Photo by Mark Burnett/CQ Roll Call).

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