Stephen Harper spent Friday evening hobnobbing with hockey royalty and celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series.

At a gala dinner in Toronto, Prime Minister Harper said the hockey games between Canada and the Soviet Union helped break down barriers between the two countries, according to The Canadian Press.

Harper also tipped his hat to the Russians, arguing the Soviet team taught the Canadians a more creative style of play.

Before the ceremony, the prime minister shared recollections of his own experience of the series when he was a 13-year-old student in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke with The Globe And Mail.

“We were all students and we were all in the gymnasium and I think that was the case with just about every school in Toronto,” Harper told the Globe. The prime minister also said it became impossible to get anything done in the classroom during the series.

In his interview with the Globe, Harper shared many of the reflections on hockey we are likely to see in his forthcoming book on the subject. The prime minister's long-awaited work on the history of the sport, which he reportedly spends 15 minutes each day working on, has sparked a bidding war this year, according to the Toronto Star.

Early this year, the Star also reported that Harper would participate in a two game series with Russian President Vladimir Putin to mark the summit anniversary. The Prime Minister's Office denied there was any truth to the story and the Star apologized for their "offside" article soon after.

Harper and Putin did meet earlier this month at the APEC Summit and they did discuss the series. Putin said he met some of the Canadian team members, who have recently travelled to Russia, and that he really enjoyed talking with them.

He called them "goodwill ambassadors" for Canada.

While the prime minister may not get to face off against a real Russian, he did find time last night to share a fist bump with Summit legend Paul Henderson. Check out the photos in the slideshow below.

With files from The Canadian Press

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  • Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during the Team Canada '72 Gala Dinner in Toronto Friday September 28, 2012. The Summit Series was an eight-game hockey series between the Soviet Union and Canada held in September 1972.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper fist bumps with 1972 Summit Series star Paul Henderson in Toronto on Friday September 28, 2012.

  • At dinner to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series in Toronto on Friday September 28, 2012.

  • Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during the Team Canada '72 Gala Dinner in Toronto Friday September 28, 2012. The Summit Series was an eight-game hockey series between the Soviet Union and Canada held in September 1972.

  • Stephen Harper speaks at a dinner to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series in Toronto on Friday September 28, 2012.



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  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper tries on an old hockey helmet at he tours the Yukon's Hockey History exhibit at the McBride Museum in Whitehorse, Yukon on Thursday, August 25, 2011.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper celebrates a goal by the Ottawa Senators as they take on the New York Rangers during the second period of game four of first round NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 18, 2012.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his son Ben watch a bloopers show while attending the Calgary Flames NHL hockey game against the Edmonton Oilers in Calgary, Saturday, April 11, 2009.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper drinks a soda as he and his daughter Rachel watch the second period of NHL hockey action between the Winnipeg Jets and the Montreal Canadiens at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011.

  • Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, center, and Canadian Minister of State (Sport) Bal Gosal, second left, play ball hockey with students as he visits the Bishop Cotton Boys and Girls School in Bangalore, India on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.

  • Harper And Don Cherry

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper, centre, holds a clipboard while coaching with Don Cherry in Barrie, Ont. in this August 12, 2010 photo. First came a high-profile endorsement for the Conservative candidate Julian Fantino from Cherry, the former Boston Bruins coach. That's prompted Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Ken Dryden, a Liberal MP and six-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens, to strap on the pads and publicly endorse Liberal candidate Tony Genco.

  • Harper And Conn-Smythe Trophy

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper (centre) inspects the Conn-Smythe trophy as he stands with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (right) and Ryerson University's President Sheldon Levy at Ryerson University's Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto on Monday August 2012.

  • Conservative Leader Stephen Harper holds up the Allen Cup, the Canada's senior men hockey championship trophy, after it was handed to him at a campaign event in Brantford Ont., Friday Oct 10, 2008. Politics, not policy, has been the biggest change in five years of Harper government.

  • Harper Plays Street Hockey

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper plays street hockey with kids in Nepean, Ontario during the 2011 federal election campaign. (Conservative Party)

  • Harper Plays Street Hockey

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper plays street hockey with kids in Nepean, Ontario during the 2011 federal election campaign. (Conservative Party)

  • Harper Plays Street Hockey

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper plays street hockey with kids in Nepean, Ontario during the 2011 federal election campaign. (Conservative Party)

  • Harper Drops Puck

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper drops a ceremonial puck at Ryerson University's Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto on Monday August 2012.

  • Harper Plays Street Hockey

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper plays street hockey with kids in Nepean, Ontario during the 2011 federal election campaign. (Conservative Party)

  • Harper Plays Street Hockey

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper plays street hockey with kids in Nepean, Ontario during the 2011 federal election campaign. (Conservative Party)

  • Harper Plays Street Hockey

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper plays street hockey with kids in Nepean, Ontario during the 2011 federal election campaign. (Conservative Party)

  • Harper Watches Hockey

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his daughter Rachel sit behind NHL commissioner Gary Bettman during the first period of the NHL All-Star game Sunday, January 29, 2012 in Ottawa.

  • Harper Watches Hockey

    Stephen Harper talks about hockey and Canada on The Today Show

  • Harper and Crosby

    TORONTO, ON - JUNE 14: Prime Minister Stephen Harper poses with Lester B. Pearson Award winner Sidney Crosby of the Pitsburgh Penguins backstage during the 2007 NHL Awards at the Elgin Theatre on June 14, 2007 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images for NHL)

  • In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office (BPA), Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R) receives a gift of an Eisbaren Berlin ice hockey shirt from German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Lake Harrington on August 15, 2012 in Gatineau Park, near Ottawa.

  • Harper Watches Hockey

    WINNIPEG, CANADA - OCTOBER 9: Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper poses for photos with Winnipeg fans before the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens game at the MTS Centre on October 9, 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The game is Winnipeg's first NHL regular season game in 15 years. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

  • Harper Watches Hockey

    VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 19: Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada (top L), and Canadian paraplegic athlete Rick Hansen (top 2nd L) clap while memebers of Team Canada look on after the Ice Sledge Hockey Bronze Medal Game on day eight of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympic Games at UBC Thunderbird Arena on March 19, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. Norway defeated Canada 2-1. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

  • Harper Watches Hockey

    VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 19: (L-R) Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, and Canadian paraplegic athlete Rick Hansen attend the Ice Sledge Hockey Bronze Medal Game between Norway and Canada on day eight of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympic Games at UBC Thunderbird Arena on March 19, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Harper Watches Hockey

    VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 13: Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, cheers during the Ice Sledge Hockey Preliminary Round Group B Game between Canada and Italy on day two of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympic Games at UBC Thunderbird Arena on March 13, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • Harper Watches Hockey

    Prime-Minister of Canada Stephen Harper applauds after Russia defeats Canada 5-4 in overtime during the gold medal game at the 2008 IIHF World Championships on May 18, 2008 in Quebec City, Canada. AFP PHOTO/David BOILY (Photo credit should read DAVID BOILY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Harper Gives Karzai Jersey

    Kabul, AFGHANISTAN: Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) receives a gift hockey suit for his four month old boy from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R) after a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, 22 May 2007. Karzai asked his visiting Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper and the international community not to leave their mission in his war-torn country 'half-the-way.' Harper, who arrived here for a surprise visit, vowed that his country was strongly determined in the mission involving some 2,400 Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants, mainly in the Taliban-dominated southern Afghanistan. AFP PHOTO/SHAH Marai (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Harper Watches Hockey

    BOSTON, MA - JUNE 08: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (C) watches Game Four between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 8, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • UP NEXT: Harper's Northern Tour 2013

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper watches two Inuit throat singers as he takes part in a community event in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Wednesday, August 21, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper wife Laureen, left, and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Bernard Valcourt, right, watch Boyd Konana, 7, as he displays traditional dress during a community event in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Wednesday, August 21, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper thanks Inuit elder Monica Ugjuk for her prayer at the start of a meeting with artic leaders in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut on Thursday, August 22, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper shoots a .303 Lee Enfield rifle while taking part in demonstration from Canadian Rangers near the Artic community of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper shoots a .303 Lee Enfield rifle while taking part in demonstration from Canadian Rangers near the Artic community of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper shoots a .303 Lee Enfield rifle while taking part in demonstration from Canadian Rangers near the Artic community of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Defence Rob Nicholson shoot .303 Lee Enfield rifle's while taking part in demonstration from Canadian Rangers near the Artic community of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Minister of Defence Rob Nicholson shoots a .303 Lee Enfield rifle's while taking part in demonstration from Canadian Rangers near the Artic community of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen enjoy a bonfire at a Canadian Rangers camp near Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper wears the Canadian Ranger sweater after he was bestowed honorary Canadian Ranger status in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Wednesday, August 21, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper wears the Canadian Ranger sweater after he was bestowed honorary Canadian Ranger status near Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Wednesday, August 21, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper wears the Canadian Ranger sweater after he was bestowed honorary Canadian Ranger status near Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Wednesday, August 21, 2013., as he stands with a group of Canadian Rangers and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson, bottom left. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of Defence Rob Nicholson and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson take part in a patrol near Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Wednesday, August 21, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen hike along the edge of Miles Canyon on the Yukon River in Whitehorse on Monday, August 19, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmharper/" target="_blank">From Harper's Flickr account:</a> "PM Harper and his wife, Laureen, pause for a photo at Alexandra Falls in the Northwest Territories."

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen take part in a picnic lunch overlooking Miles Canyon on the Yukon River in Whitehorse on Monday, August 19, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper stops to speak with an Canadian Ranger as he is greeted by locals upon his arrival in Whitehorse, Yukon on Sunday, August 18, 2013. Whitehorse is Harper's first stop on his annual northern Canada tour. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper is greeted by a group of Canadian Rangers as he arrives in Whitehorse, Yukon on Sunday, August 18, 2013.Whitehorse is Harper's first stop on his annual northern Canada tour. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper poses for a photo on the tailgate of a Hercules aircraft with summer camp kids as he arrives in Hay River, Northwest Territories on Monday, August 19, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

  • UP NEXT: Memorable Harper Photos

  • Easy Rider

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper waves after going for an ATV ride as he visits a farm for a campaign event in Wainfleet Ont., on Monday, April 4, 2011.

  • Nom Nom Nom

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper eats maple taffy as he visits a sugar shack in Norbertville, Quebec on Tuesday, April 5, 2011.

  • Can I Keep Them?

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper plays with foster kittens at 24 Sussex. May 1, 2010. Source: <a href="http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media_gallery.asp?media_category_id=900&media_category_typ_id=6&media_id=5512" target="_blank">Pm.gc.ca</a>