Gretzky's endorsement of Stephen Harper divides social media

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky backed Stephen Harper on Friday evening, calling the Conservative leader "an unreal prime minister." The comments earned a standing ovation from the crowd of party supporters, but didn't play out as well on social media.

Hockey icon announced his support for Conservative leader at a Toronto campaign event on Friday evening

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper shakes hands with Wayne Gretzky before a table-top hockey game during a campaign event in Toronto on Friday. Social media users are divided over Gretzky's endorsement of Harper. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky backed Stephen Harper at a campaign stop in Toronto on Friday evening, calling him "an unreal prime minister" during a question-and-answer session with the Conservative leader.

"You've been wonderful to the whole country," Gretzky said, a comment that earned a standing ovation from Conservative supporters.

"I know you have the country's best interest at heart."

The Great One's praise

7 years ago
Duration 2:08
Wayne Gretzky endorses Stephen Harper despite not being allowed to vote

But the star endorsement didn't pan out as well on social media, where users were divided on the assist served up by The Great One.

Many took the time to comment on Gretzky's Facebook fan page, criticizing him for his support. Though his event with Harper took place on Friday, Gretzky continues to be a trending search online.

This user brought up Gretzky's memorable appearance at the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, when he rode in the back of a pickup truck to light the cauldron.

There were more than a few obligatory hockey jokes.

Some loved the endorsement...

... and seized the opportunity to jab at other parties.

Others used the opportunity to jab at Gretzky's inability to vote...

Gretzky is a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, but has lived in the United States for years. He won't be able to vote under rules preventing Canuck expats from taking part in the election if they have been away for more than five years.

...and a few mulled if it meant a foray into politics.

It's been a week full of Canadian celebrity endorsements for our federal leaders.

Canadian actor Donald Sutherland revealed his support for NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, while the entertainment icon was on the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival. Sutherland called on Canadians to "change the government." He has been critical of the residency limits set by the voting laws.

Canadian-born actress Pamela Anderson came out against Harper during an event in Vancouver, bashing the Conservatives record on climate change. Neither Anderson or Sutherland can vote because they have lived out of the country for more than five years.

And for one user, all these endorsements mean nothing at all.


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