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

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

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.

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.

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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