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Russia's Vladimir Putin laces up skates for hockey game with ex-NHL stars

Ryan Gaydos

Russian President Vladimir Putin played hockey at Red Square in Moscow on Christmas Day.

Putin, 67, played on the same squad as Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and former NHL stars Pavel Bure, Sergei Federov and Alexei Kasatonov, the Kremlin announced.

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Andrei Vorobyov, governor of the Moscow region, Kontinental Hockey League commissioner Gennady Timchenko and billionaire entrepreneur Vladimir Potanin were on the opposing team.

Putin’s team won the match, 8-5, the Kremlin said. According to TASS, he scored more than half of the team's goals.

According to The Independent, Putin usually participates in a hockey friendly a week before the Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7.

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“It’s a good kind of entertainment,” Putin told Russia 24. “I think this is a well-justified reason [to play hockey] ahead of the new year.”

Putin is known for taking a break from the political world to lace up skates and hit the ice. He usually plays periodically with popular Russian figures and former NHL stars and the matches are broadcast across Russian television.

Putin is also a soccer fan and supports FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, who play in the Russian Premier League and are based in the president’s home city.

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Notably, Putin’s favorite sport is judo, in which he is said to have a black belt.

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