Chuck Puchmayr, a governor with the hall of fame’s board of governors, received a call from the prime minister’s office inquiring about the possibility of a private tour of the facility for the prime minister during his visit to Vancouver. Harper had about an hour of downtime, during which he wanted to tour the hall of fame.
Puchmayr said the visit was hush-hush, with the prime minister slipping into the facility through a side door after his protective services staff ensured the hall of fame was secure. “We walked around and looked at pictures, chatted,” Puchmayr said. “I was told no politics. We looked at different artifacts. He got to hold an old stick. He was able to hold the Mann Cup, he was able to hold the Minto cup.”
Puchmayr showed Harper a picture on the wall and asked if he could identify one of the men in the photo. Former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau was a member of a university lacrosse team whose photo is in the hall of fame.
According to Puchmayr, Harper is writing a book about hockey and toured the facility as part of the research for that book, as some hockey players also played lacrosse. The Conservative Party website states that Harper is an aspiring author who is writing a book about the early history of professional hockey.
Located in Centennial Community Centre, the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame includes trophies, jerseys, photos and equipment.
“He was impressed,” Puchmayr said about the collection. “He left some nice comments in our book.” Puchmayr presented Harper with a pin and made him an honorary inductee to the hall of fame. He also invited the prime minister to open the hall of fame when it opens in the city’s new civic centre in downtown New Westminster in 2013.
Puchmayr was unable to photograph the prime minister’s visit but is able to order photographs that were taken by the photographer accompanying Harper during his visit. He said the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame is actively engaged in fundraising and the board of governors supports endeavours that highlight the facility.