Russian President Vladimir Putin only took up ice skating a few years ago, but that didn't stop the 62-year-old scoring a handful of goals in an all-star hockey match comprising of former hockey stars, businessmen and politicians over the weekend.
Putin scored eight goals at the gala hockey match in Sochi on Saturday — more than any other player — to lead his "Stars of the Night Hockey League (NHL)" team to an 18-6 victory over his opponents "The NHL Team."
The president was joined by a host of former Soviet and Russian stars including Alexander Yakushev, Sergei Makarov and Vyacheslav Fetisov. Billionaire businessmen Gennady Timchenko and brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, close associates of the Russian president, also played in the match.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who scored three goals and made three assists, was awarded the Man of the Match award and won a trip to Crimea as a prize, news outlet RBK reported. Shoigu was also involved in an altercation with an opposition player, the business tycoon Vladimir Potanin, though video footage showed the tussle appeared to have been resolved amicably.
The game was held in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany, which Russia celebrated on May 9; all of the players wore the number 70 on the back of their shirts. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev did not participate in the match, but watched from the stands.
The Night Hockey League, or NHL, was established at Putin's behest in 2011 as a league for players over the age of 40. The Russian president took part in the league's first ever tournament, but later admitted that he had never before skated on ice, RBK reported.