Manitoba

Stephen Harper says he didn't wear Winnipeg Jets jersey because he doesn't have one

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday he wore a red and white Team Canada jersey as the Winnipeg Jets took on the Anaheim Ducks for a fourth time, amidst a sea of fans decked out in white, because he didn't have a Jets jersey.

'No way I'm going to wear Paul Henderson-signed jersey' to Jets game, says PM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters at a news conference Thursday that he didn't have a Jets jersey. But he's certainly wearing one here with Winnipeg South Centre MP Joyce Bateman, in a photo his office tweeted last year. (Office of the Prime Minister)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he wore a red and white Team Canada jersey amid a sea of Winnipeg Jets fans decked out in white because he didn't have a Jets jersey to wear to the playoff game.

But shortly after the news conference Thursday when he said that, a tweet appeared with a photo of him wearing a white Winnipeg Jets jersey while standing next to Winnipeg South Centre MP Joyce Bateman. 

The bright red and white Team Canada jersey Harper wore to Wednesday night's game ruffled the feathers of a number of Jets fans and made the prime minister stand out against a background of white.

Harper was speaking at a Winnipeg business, FC Woodworks in Transcona, about his plan to reduce business taxes for small businesses, when reporters asked him about his choice of jersey. 

Harper said he had two choices for a jersey to wear to the Winnipeg Jets game last night. But one of the options was a 1972 Team Canada jersey signed by Paul Henderson. 'There's no way I'm going to wear a Paul Henderson-signed jersey to the game,' he said. (Stephen Harper on Twitter)
"I'll tell you the whole story," he said. "We were headed out [and] we decided to come out a bit early so we could attend the Jets game at the last minute. So I went up to my wardrobe, going through my hockey room ... and they said, 'Well, you got to wear white.' I didn't have a white Jets jersey. So they threw in the white jerseys [for] when I got there."

But he said he really had only one option when he touched down. 

"I opened the case and there were two white jerseys. One was the Team Canada jersey that I wore, and how can you go wrong ever wearing a Team Canada jersey in any city?" he asked.

'A big hand for the Jets for a successful season and good luck for next year,' Harper said to reporters in Winnipeg. (Karen Pauls/CBC)
"But to my horror, I got to tell you this story," he continued. "To my horror, the other jersey they put in was a 1972 Team Canada jersey from the Great Summit Series, given to me and signed by Paul Henderson himself," he said, referring to the battle between Canada and the Soviet Union for hockey supremacy more than four decades ago.

Henderson led Team Canada to victory in that series. 

"His jersey— there's no way I'm going to wear a Paul Henderson-signed jersey to the game," Harper said. "So I wore the more recent one."

Harper also paid tribute to the Jets and to their fans, whose support seemed to grow stronger throughout the playoff series despite the Jets losing four straight games to the Anaheim Ducks, knocking them out of the series. 

Harper said the team and the fans shouldn't be too disappointed.

"I think it's an up-and-coming team," he said. "The fans last night, the experience, Winnipeggers, Manitobans were just on fire. So look, I think a big hand for the Jets for a successful season and good luck for next year." 

Harper was also scheduled to speak at the Victoria Inn in Winnipeg Thursday evening. Hundreds of Tory faithful gathered inside, while a handful of protesters brandished signs criticizing Harper for some of his government's moves. 

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