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U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, Blackhawks' Jimmy Hayes Teach Kids Hockey

By Paul Biasco | March 28, 2013 2:10pm

LINCOLN PARK — U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) is a hockey player at heart, and he's even lost two teeth playing the game.

Wednesday afternoon he teamed up with Chicago Blackhawks winger Jimmy Hayes to introduce the sport to about 50 children at the St. Vincent de Paul Center.

Quigley, who like Hayes plays right wing, is co-chairman of the Congressional Hockey Caucus, a bipartisan group of members of Congress who advocate for expansion of hockey in America.

"Like Arthur Ashe said, every kid should have access to every sport," Quigley said at the event. "It shouldn't be based on where you are born."

Quigley and Hayes led the neighborhood kids in drills, team-building exercises and scrimmages before announcing the donation of the floor hockey equipment for use at the center, which offers child care and early childhood education for the working poor of Chicago.

"We want kids to have experiences we didn't have," said Michelle Brown, supervisor for before- and after-school activities at the center.

While speaking to the group of children, who were each given a Blackhawks jersey to keep, Quigley shared a story of a conversation he had with President Barack Obama about the importance of sports, whether they be on the ice like hockey or on the court like basketball.

"He asked how many teeth I've lost. I've lost two. Jimmy's lost two," Quigley said. "The President told me he lost his middle tooth playing basketball."

When the kids heard Hayes would be coming to the gymnasium to teach them floor hockey skills,  they were shocked, Brown said.

"Some of them were like 'Oh my god!,' when they heard the Blackhawks would be here," Brown said.

She said it doesn't matter what sport the kids are playing, as long as they are playing, and staying active and engaged along the way.

"Some of them have never held a stick, but they need to learn team building skills," she said.