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Toronto Maple Leafs right winger Phil Kessel is congratulated by teammes after scoring on the Montreal Canadiens during first period NHL action in Toronto on Saturday April 27, 2013.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Let's set aside everything that Tuesday's GDP report tells us about our economic fortunes, and cheer for just a moment because of what it says about hockey.

What could be more Canadian than the (albeit) small boost to the economy than that?

The arts, entertainment and recreation sector expanded by 3.3 per cent in February, according to Statistics Canada, following a 4.1-per-cent gain in January juiced by the end of the National Hockey League lockout that delayed the season.

Before that, of course, the sector was hurting.

"While it probably won't have a meaningful impact on over all growth, bar owners in Canada's biggest cities are no doubt cheering the fact that four Canadian teams will attempt playoff runs this year (including four of Canada's five biggest cities," said senior economist Robert Kavcic of BMO Nesbitt Burns.

Over all, Canada's economy expanded by 0.3 per cent in February, matching January's gains and driven by the country's resource industries.

And while that's a good sign, one that could put the economy on the road to a first-quarter expansion of up to 2.5 per cent annualized, it's not as smart a showing as it appears on first blush.

"We're seeing growth in all the right places, in the cyclical, export-oriented industries that are supposed to be taking over from debt-fuelled housing and retailing," said chief economist Avery Shenfeld of CIBC World Markets.

"But don't cheer too loudly just yet. All of this has been made easier by the very weak base of comparison set in the latter half of 2012, and abetted by a firming U.S. economy that now seems to be slowing again."

But, hey, let's set that aside just for now, and the fact that consumer confidence is on the decline in Canada, and just cheer for [your team here].

Follow Michael Babad on Twitter: @michaelbabadOpens in a new window

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