Currently on an economic and commercial visit to Canada, Premier Li Keqiang of China accompanied Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a visit to the Bell Centre on Friday morning to experience our country's national sport first-hand.
Before the pair arrived on site, 30 local minor hockey players of Chinese descent ranging in age from seven to 15 years old, hit the ice for a clinic led by Canadiens alums Gaston Gingras, Patrice Brisebois, Mathieu Dandenault and Francis Bouillon. The visit actually comes nine months after Gingras, Brisebois, Dandenault and Hall-of-Famer Steve Shutt travelled to Beijing for a 10-day trip designed to spread the love of the game - and a passion for the CH - to youngsters in China's capital city.
After Premier Li and Prime Minister Trudeau were given a tour of the Canadiens dressing room, they participated in a ceremonial puck drop sporting their brand new personalized Habs jerseys.
Canadiens ambassador and Hall-of-Famer Yvan Cournoyer was fortunate enough to spend some time with both Li and Trudeau on Friday, and he very much enjoyed his experience.
"I met his father, Mr. Trudeau, a long time ago. It was very nice to see him for the first time," said Cournoyer on his encounter with Prime Minister Trudeau, before detailing his meeting further. "We told them before they went in the room that they couldn't walk on the CH. [Premier Li] looked at my sweater and said - 'Can I touch it?' He touched it. But, the Montreal Canadiens are unbelievable. I have a chance to travel quite a bit and the Montreal Canadiens are well known everywhere in the world. That's why I'm not surprised that the Chinese came here, especially to the Bell Centre."