Russian President Vladimir Putin turned the ice into a proxy state on Saturday.
The leader laced up the skates for an exhibition hockey game in Sochi and poured in 8 goals while leading his team of government officials, business men and former players to a convincing 18-6 victory.
Video footage of the match posted by the government-backed Russia Today shows Putin, 62, depositing one-timers and slapshots in the back of the net, exchanging an awkward high-five with another player and even getting tied up in a brief scuffle.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (front) leads the charge during the exhibition match at the amateur Night Hockey League tournament in Sochi.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and retired ice hockey player turned politician Vyacheslav Fetisov take a rest on the bench during the exhibition match.
Putin, shown enjoying a lighter moment on Saturday, performed almost as well in a 2014 exhibition match at the Olympic venue.
Former National Hockey League standouts Pavel Bure and Valeri Kamensky set him up for many of the goals in the game that preceded Russian amateur league contests later in the day, according to Russia Today. All of the participants wore the number 70 to commemorate the recent 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
Putin has flown in fighter jets, tracked polar bears and bared his shirtless muscular chest atop a horse in the Siberian wilderness in the past. But the photo ops may have gone too far when his aides had to admit that the combative, long-ruling leader didn’t really discover ancient pottery during a 2011 scuba dive.
Putin, shown in a Saturday meeting on the armed forces at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry there earlier this week.
Saturday’s match played out in the same arena that hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics hockey and one where Putin has previously donned the skates for another exhibition match last year. Putin only notched 6 goals in that game, but he did have 5 assists and his team won 21-4.
With News Wire Reports.
The long-ruling Putin has never been afraid to press the flesh during his vigorous recreational pursuits.
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