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Posted at 12:19 PM ET, 10/13/2011

Hockey hits Capitol Hill

In a different kind of “Building America’s Hockey Capital” initiative, the NHL is partnering with members of Congress and Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer today for the first ever Hockey Fights Cancer Day on the Hill. This is the latest development in a campaign that’s been in place since 1998, when the NHL and NHLPA first co-founded Hockey Fights Cancer awareness month.

Members of Congress, including life-long hockey player Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and members of the Congressional Hockey Caucus (which, by the way, exists) will wear a specially-designed lavender tie in support of the NHL’s work to drive awareness of and raise funds to fight cancer. NHL coaches, broadcasters and team personnel will be sporting the tie throughout the month.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Hockey Caucus, will deliver a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, recognizing Hockey Fights Cancer awareness month and this inaugural hill advocacy day.

Kenneth Martin, Jr., NHL Vice President of Community Affairs, spoke to the value of this initiative, saying “Through Hockey Fights Cancer, the NHL family continues to build upon its long-standing tradition of addressing important social issues to demonstrate that our biggest assist happens off the ice.”

I could see this growing to be a really exciting event in future years. I appreciate the participation of Members of Congress, and I love the idea that the NHL sees value in engaging legislators, because in addition to drawing attention to Hockey Fights Cancer, they’re showing Congress the impact sports players, franchises and leagues can have on major social issues.

In the future, I would love to see a couple of players participate and talk to legislators about why they find these initiatives important. I’ll bet lots of NHL players could share personal stories about being touched by cancer, and others could speak more generally about being a professional athlete as an opportunity to do good.

Meanwhile, Washingtonians everywhere can spend the day in bliss: the intersection of hockey and politics on Caps-Pens day? Tough to beat.

For more information about Hockey Fights Cancer, or to watch Congressman Mike Quigley's speech, go to hockeyfightscancer.com. To shop for Hockey Fights Cancer merchandise, including the tie Members of Congress will be wearing today, visit shop.nhl.com. A portion of proceeds from these products will benefit Hockey Fights Cancer.

By Nicole Weissman  |  12:19 PM ET, 10/13/2011

Tags:  Nicole Weissman

 
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