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article imageWayne Gretzky gives Stephen Harper thumbs up at rally

By Marcus Hondro     Sep 19, 2015 in Politics
Canadian hockey legend Wayne Gretzky skated into Canada's election war on Friday at a Conservative rally in downtown Toronto. The Great One didn't mince words, either, letting the crowd know he'd play on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's team any time.
"I think you’ve been an unreal prime minister, you’ve been wonderful to all the country," Gretzky told Harper at the rally. “I wish you nothing but the most success (in the election) and best of luck to the country, the greatest country in the world."
The two were sitting in chairs with an group of Conservative candidates standing in behind them. Harper, who has written a history book on hockey, asked the Great One some hockey questions and the two had a casual chitchat for a few minutes.
Then Harper asked Gretzky if he happened to have any advice for him on leadership and rather than answer the question, he uttered the above quote. Not long after, the former NHL superstar took his leave and the campaign rally continued without him.
Harper: hockey fan
Ironically, a reason that the Great One cannot vote in the October election is that Harper and his government have steadfastly stood behind the residency rules for offshore Canadians, legislation that denies the vote to Canadians who have not lived in Canada during the previous five years.
Gretzky, now a dual citizen, has not lived in his native country since being traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. He married Janet Jones, an American, and their three children are U.S.-born.
Harper's hockey book, A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey, was published in 2013 and deals with the early history of hockey in Toronto and Canada. He is a big hockey fan and attends NHL games each season in Canadian cities.
For his part, Gretzky appears to be a big fan of conservative politics. Last year he gave the thumbs up to Patrick Brown, who went on to win the leadership of the Ontario Conservatives, and a decade ago he gave former U.S. Republican President George W. Bush a ringing endorsement.
When the four-time Stanley Cup champion gave his approval to Harper the partisan crowd gave him a standing ovation.
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