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Rep. John Katko to play in Congressional Hockey Challenge

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U.S. Rep. John Katko

U.S. Rep. John Katko. 

Central New York's hockey enthusiast-in-chief will lace up his skates for a charity hockey game next week. 

U.S. Rep. John Katko said in an interview Friday that he will play in the Congressional Hockey Challenge, an annual game pitting lawmakers against lobbyists that raises money for a few organizations, including the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club in Washington, the NHL scholarship of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and USA Warriors Hockey. 

According to the event's website, Katko, R-Camillus, will be on a team with a group of lawmakers, congressional staffers and a pair of Canadian officials. 

Peter Bondra, a five-time NHL all-star who scored 503 goals in his career, is also listed as a member of Katko's team. 

"It's going to be pretty interesting, to say the least," Katko said, laughing. "I had my first practice last week and it took me about a week to recover."

While he was a student at Niagara University, Katko played club hockey. Now, he coaches his sons' hockey team. 

Katko was recently featured in a National Journal story about lawmakers and others who get together to play Monday night hockey in Alexandria, Va. 

In the story, Katko said it was U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican and former NHL referee, who invited him to join the weekly pickup game. 

"I'm like a little kid," Katko told the National Journal. "I'm getting all excited about getting out and playing again. It's all I can think about the last few days. My kids are making fun of me." 

Katko is listed as a forward on the Congressional Hockey Challenge roster. He will wear No. 24 — a nod to the 24th Congressional District he represents.

With the game more than a week away, Katko said he's looking forward to playing and helping support a good cause. 

"It'll be fun," he said. "It will be a well attended game. It's pretty exciting." 

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