Vladimir Putin has his name in cyrillic on the back of his Russian national team jersey, and wears the number 11, which he said was given to him and has no significance. (Chris Harris/The Times/Chris Harris/The Times)
Globe and Mail editor-in-chief John Stackhouse was given a jersey to wear from Sportivny Club St. Petersburg, Vladimir Putin's home town.
John Stackhouse faces off against Vladimir Putin. 'He took pretty much every face-off when he was on the ice,' Stackhouse said. 'My teammates insisted I do the same. He didn't seem to take kindly to a hard swipe at the puck. I'm pretty sure I lost most of the draws.'
Vladimir Putin follows through on a shot. (Chris Harris/The Times/Chris Harris/The Times)
'During a break in the game, Viacheslav Fetisov spoke at length about the state of hockey in Russia and North America,' Stackhouse said. Fetisov, right, wore a Red Army uniform, the team he played for in the old Soviet Union before heading to the NHL in 1989. 'He is trying to rebuild his country's hockey culture, at the minor and professional level. He's also working on the NHL to allow its players to participate in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Before our chat, he spent part of the evening giving private lessons to Putin, focusing on his carves and quick shots.' (Handout)
Back on the ice, Vladimir Putin waits for a pass with John Stackhouse on defence. 'I considered lifting Putin's stick from behind but decided to play it safe,' Stackhouse said. 'Unlike Fetisov or my teammates, he didn't opt for fun on the ice, rarely laughing or verbally jabbing the others.'
Vladimir Putin celebrates one of his four goals. 'This one came on a play where I failed to check him,' Stackhouse said. 'For someone who took up hockey only two years ago, he skates and shoots at a good level. His backhand was especially impressive, hitting an upper corner of the net on one play.'
Viacheslav Fetisov drives hard to the net, with Vladimir Putin, No. 11, in support. 'I tried to fend them off,' John Stackhouse said. 'But they successfully jammed the puck through our goalie's pads, en route to their 16-9 victory.'
Vladimir Putin in a rare moment of levity on the ice. (Chris Harris/The Times/Chris Harris/The Times)