PHILADELPHIA (AP) -To a mixture of boos and cheers, Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin dropped the ceremonial first puck Saturday night at the Philadelphia Flyers' home opener against the New York Rangers.
The Alaska governor and self-described "hockey mom" heard a few boos when she walked onto the ice, but that soon turned to polite applause as she headed to center ice with Mike Richards of the Flyers and Scott Gomez - from Alaska - of the Rangers.
Palin waved to the crowd and smiled as she dropped the puck to applause and cheers. The Rangers beat the Flyers 4-3 and are off to their best start in 25 years.
"As a proud hockey mom and an avid NHL fan, I was thrilled to be here," Palin said. "I enjoyed joining the Philadelphia Flyers to drop the puck at tonight's game. I wish them the best of luck this season."
Cathy O'Connell of Erdenheim, Pa., joined Palin on the ice as the winner of a team promotion for the "Ultimate Hockey Mom."
"Politics aside, as far as someone coming from the home state, in the position she's in, as a fellow Alaskan, yeah, you're proud," Gomez said.
Added Richards: "It's nice to see someone like that appreciate hockey."
Last month, Palin visited a Philadelphia bar with Flyers owner Ed Snider, who has donated money to Republican presidential nominee John McCain's campaign.
The NHL said it did not view the Flyers' invitation to be politically motivated.
"Governor Palin is a supporter of the sport, which she has proclaimed publicly," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. "As a public figure who has a very public connection with hockey, her recent associations with the Flyers and other NHL franchises is not surprising and, in our view, not inappropriate."
There were no apparent signs of protest outside the arena, and one fan held a sign that read "Vote Obama" behind New York's net. A few other held "Obama-Biden" signs behind her.