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Wayne Gretzky endorses Ontario PC leadership hopeful Patrick Brown

NHL.com @NHL

TORONTO - Wayne Gretzky is wading into Ontario's Progressive Conservative leadership race by voicing his support for Barrie MP Patrick Brown.

Gretzky is endorsing Brown as the best person to become the leader of Ontario's official opposition.

The hockey legend says he's known Brown for a number of years and says he's hardworking, dedicated and "a strong Conservative."

He says Brown has "the passion and vision to lead Ontario."

Brown, the only leadership hopeful without a seat in the Ontario legislature, says he is honoured to receive Gretzky's support.

Brown is running against deputy Ontario PC leader Christine Elliott, the widow of former federal finance minister Jim Flaherty, and London-area MPP Monte McNaughton.

Progressive Conservatives across the province will vote in May for the leader to replace Tim Hudak, who resigned after the Tories' fourth consecutive election loss to the Liberals last June.

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