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The Globe and Mail

Stephen Harper scores ... in pick-up street hockey

Stephen Harper plays ball hockey with a group of youngsters in Ottawa on Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sean Kilpatrick

Compare and contrast: the very day that Michael Ignatieff was unveiling his election platform inside an Ottawa hotel, Stephen Harper was promising new tax breaks for sports fees and playing a street hockey game for the cameras.

It appeared a deliberate effort to differentiate himself from Mr. Ignatieff, a man the Conservatives delight in trying to paint as elitist and out of touch.

TV cameras in tow, Mr. Harper ventured to a suburban Ottawa parking lot to play pick-up street hockey with 30 kids and local Tory candidate Pierre Poilievre.

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Wearing a red and white Team Canada jersey - #64 - Mr. Harper posed for pictures with voters and then called for all the kids to toss their sticks into a pile to pick teams.

Mr. Poilievre was the captain of the opposing team, a role, the young politician quipped, that could be a career limiting move.

Laureen Harper, the wife of the Tory Leader, dropped the ball for face-off.

The Conservative Leader played mostly defence while a gaggle of kids chased the ball.

But after the first goal by a kid on Team Harper, the game picked up.

Mr. Poilievre's team answered back with a goal of their own and each side went on to score once more.

Then, Mr. Harper caught the ball, and, from the middle of a crowd of kids, backhanded it into a top corner of the net. The assembled adults cheered.

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The Tory Leader raised a hand in victory and doled out high-fives.

Team Poilievre tied the score with a third goal and then the photo opportunity was over.

Mr. Harper signed his stick and gave it to the opposing team's goalie.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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