Russian leader Vladimir Putin put on his ice hockey gear and took to the rink in Moscow on Saturday in a festive game with politicians and sports stars. The country’s President, 66, put on a helmet, shoulder pads and skates and brandished a hockey stick for a friendly game in Red Square. Putin took practice shots and jostled for possession with Russia’s defence minister and former stars of the NHL in North America. Politicians and hockey stars mingled at an outdoor rink with a view of the Kremlin behind it, in Putin’s latest camera-friendly PR stunt. The regular festive game comes a week before Russia celebrates Orthodox Christmas on January 7. With temperatures below freezing in Moscow Putin was seen wrapping up in a green blanket before the game got underway. Defence minister Sergei Shoygu, former New York Rangers player Pavel Bure and Soviet Olympic gold medallist Viacheslav Fetisov were among the other players. According to pro-Putin state broadcaster RT, the President has often taken part in Night Hockey League friendlies in Russia. Share this article Share Earlier this year he scored five goals for a ‘Legends of Hockey’ team in a game broadcast on state TV. Putin, a former KGB agent, was a keen judo competitor as a young man and won a black belt. He is known for showing off his physical prowess in a range of disciplines, once riding a horse shirtless in southern Siberia. On another occasion he purportedly shot a tiger with a tranquiliser dart to save a television crew from the animal. He has also been seen fishing, swimming in a lake and playing a game of tenpin bowling against former President Dmitry Medvedev.