Senators place wager, celebrate with Hockey in Newark

Senators Lautenberg and Menendez with Hockey in Newark people. Photo credit: Rich Graessle

Twitter battles: they’ve taken over the Stanley Cup Playoffs. From  Los Angeles Kings dominating the social media sphere to Senators from New York and New Jersey placing a bet, social media is proving to be the go-to form of communication.

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (@FrankLautenberg) and Senator Robert Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) teamed up and made a pizza bet with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) and Senator Charles Schumer (@ChuckSchumer) based on the outcome of the New Jersey Devils versus New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

In the midst of the hockey madness in Newark, Senators Menendez and Lautenberg invited Hockey in Newark, a youth hockey program, to join them at Prudential Center to enjoy some delicious pizza.

“In this town and in this city, hockey is being played. It’s extraordinary,” Senator Lautenberg said, while standing with a young hockey player, who was chomping at the bit to go grab a slice.

And the program has already proven to be a success. In nine years, Coaches Keith Veltre and Dennis Ruppe amongst others have taken a program that no one knew even existed in the city, to a state-wide recognized success.

Senators Lautenberg and Menendez visit Prudential Center for a pizza party with Hockey in Newark youth hockey players. Photo credit: Rich Graessle

“A senator speaks highly of your program, and is proud of it, and wants to highlight our kids because of their accomplishments and what they’ve done,” Veltre described, while beaming with pride about his 90-kid program.

With help from Ameri-Health Pavillion, the practice facility of the Devils, Hockey in Newark is exploding.

“It opens up a new world to them in so many different dimensions,” Senator Menendez said. “And that’s why I wanted to come and celebrate with the kids and celebrate with the coaches because they’ve done a fine job here.”

As many hockey parents can attest, it’s not an inexpensive after-school activity. Yet, with the Hockey in Newark program, young children are given the opportunity to give the sport a try.

Kevin Lopez, a 17-year old hockey player, is a great example of the success of the program. He earned a full-ride to Princeton University next fall because Hockey in Newark helped him focus more in school.

“It’s a risk. Imagine strapping on a pair of skates for the first time and not knowing what to do,” Lopez said. “But eventually, in the long run [all the risks] all paid off.”

Lopez, Veltre and the Senators all agree the Devils and Newark combine really well. The Devils organization has transformed Newark into a hockey place. And Newark’s youth is benefitting.

“Hockey and the arena have done wonders for the city,” Lautenberg said.

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About KatlynGambill

Social Media Consultant and Online Journalist specializing in new media and sports media.

Posted on June 5, 2012, in New Jersey Devils, Social Media and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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