sinesofinsanity: For use in times of hockey epic-ness (hockey chicks)
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Recently the Green Party of Canada named former Montreal Canadiens player Georges Laraque as one of two deputy leaders of the party, which provides an interesting contrast to the other deputy leader, Adriane Carr. The move, from a slightly cynical perspective, is supposed to boost support in Quebec (a province which failed to elect an NDP MP for the first 25 years of that party's existence) for the Greens (a party which has failed to elect an MP, ever). At first glance the move seems ridiculous, but then, this is Canada, and it is Quebec. The Greens need a hero, and maybe the Habs will give it to them. But how well do hockey and politics mix in this country?

You could say it started with Lord Stanley, Canada's 6th governor general, and the man who financed the cup that fans flock to the Hockey Hall of Fame to gaze at. Although his name is on the cup, he was never known as a hockey player, only becoming a fan after his sons started to play. So we move on.

Lionel "The Big Train" Conacher played and excelled at nearly every sport popular in the 10's 20's and 30's (you have to be awesome to get a nickname like "The Big Train") and played on such hockey teams as the Montreal Maroons, Chicago Black Hawks, and the very first NHL All Stars team. He went on to be a Liberal MP in Toronto where he died of a heart attack during a softball game against the parliamentary press gallery. That might be why they don't do that anymore.

Red Kelly (known for playing on more Stanley Cup winning teams than any player who never played for the Montreal Canadiens) NHL top defenseman in 1954, was a Liberal MP for York during his hockey career. Apparently arguing about the new flag and battling it out on the ice didn't conflict with each other all that much. The same tactic was tried by Syl Apps who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1930's and 40's (back when they used to win the odd game. oh snap!), but he wasn't elected as a PC MPP for Kingston until 1963 when he'd officially retired from the NHL. Howie Meeker however was able to serve as Conservative MP for Waterloo while playing for the Leafs in the 1950's. The Leafs don't make their players work all that hard (I did it again).

Currently two Senators, Frank Mahovlich and Jacques Demers are connected with the NHL, although neither of them with the Senators. Demers coached the Montreal Canadiens and is a Conservative appointed by Harper, while Mahovlich is another Leafs player and a Liberal appointed by Chretien.

Lastly we get to Ken Dryden, who won 6 Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens as a goalie in the 1970's and currently sits as Liberal MP for York Centre. He doesn't seem to say a lot, but focuses on poverty and hunger issues. Pretty typical for a Grit, pretty popular for a Hab in Leafs territory.

So Laraque seems to be in good company. While we wait with bated breath for someone to trip up and call an election, he can ride the hockey fame and maybe sweep up a seat! After all, what are hockey and politics for if not entertainment?

*Interview with Laraque in the National Post

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