Putin Rules the Rink

(Credit: RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service/AP Photo)

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin scored a double hat trick in a hockey game featuring aging Russian hockey legends on Saturday.

In his demonstration of his athletic skills, the 61 year-old Kremlin chief reportedly netted no fewer than six goals and assisted on five others, leading his team to a 21-4 victory.

The game was billed as an exhibition-style "gala match" with the Night Hockey League, which organizes games after work for those over 40 years old. Saturday's game saw former stars playing with and against amateurs and government officials.

State-owned ITAR-TASS news agency quoted former NHL star Pavel Bure saying Putin is in "excellent shape."

Among the amateur participants were several individuals sanctioned by the United States this year for Russia's alleged meddling in Ukraine, including moguls Gennady Timchenko and the brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg.

The game took place in the Sochi hockey arena that was built for this year's Winter Olympics. Before the game began, a minute of silence was observed for the victims of violence on Friday in Mariupol, Ukraine.

Earlier this year, Putin played a hockey game in the same stadium with the president of Belarus.