Sheldon Whitehouse, Kennedy draw inspiration from – Gretzky’s Ted Nesi is reporting from Capitol Hill this week.

WASHINGTON – Wayne Gretzky retired more than a decade ago, but he’s still inspiring congressional Democrats from Southern New England.

In separate interviews this week, Rhode Island U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and newly elected Mass. Congressman Joe Kennedy III both cited the wisdom of the legendary Canadian hockey star as a model for how they’ll approach the 113th Congress.

“If you remember the great Wayne Gretzky,” Whitehouse told, “he used to say you become a great hockey player not when you go to where the puck is but when you go to where the puck is going to be. And I think there’s four issues where the puck is going to be where we really need to be working hard even if it’s not the so-called issue of the moment.”

Whitehouse’s four issues: climate change, the oceans, cybersecurity, and streamlining the way health care gets delivered.

The next morning, Kennedy had the same lesson on his mind.

“Wayne Gretzky was famous for saying he doesn’t go where the puck is, he goes to where the puck’s going to be,” he said, arguing that members of Congress need to think the same way.

Informed that Senator Whitehouse had used Gretzky’s famous aphorism less than 24 hours earlier, Kennedy said, “Did he really? You’re kidding me!” He laughed and added: “Maybe he and I can talk about that.”

• Related: More stories from Ted Nesi’s trip to Washington this week

​(photo: Wikipedia)

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