THE CANADIAN PRESS — YELLOWKNIFE - Prince William's courtship of Canada was taken up a notch Tuesday when he picked up a stick and tried his hand at the street version of the country's favourite pastime.
The man second in line to the throne was allowed three shots in an organized shinny game with young people, but couldn't dent the twine. His wife Kate didn't play, but she did drop the ball in a ceremonial faceoff.
Story continues under this slideshow, which will be updated all day.
William delighted the crowd of thousands earlier in the day when he said the North defines Canada.
"It's great to be north of 60," he said, referring to the line of latitude marking the southern boundary of the Northwest Territories.
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"This place is what Canada is all about — vast, open beauty, tough, resilient, friendly peoples, true nature, true humanity," the prince said as Yellowknife's Frame Lake rippled in the background.
The crowd roared its approval as he concluded his remarks with a thank you in Dene and the western Inuit language Inuvialuktun.
The royal couple had a full itinerary in the territory — the northernmost leg of their Canadian tour. William started the day wearing a dark suit with a lighter shirt and tie, while Kate wore a cream-coloured linen dress by Danish designer Malene Birger.
They watched aboriginal dancers in fur-trimmed parkas perform to the rhythmic beat of native drums. The royals then walked along the barriers holding the crowd back, the sound of drums still filling the air. They stopped along the way to shake hands and chat as some spectators jostled for a key spot.
William and Kate watched with interest as the traditional sport of high kick was demonstrated. It involves a player jumping high into the air and kicking a ball on a rope well above head level.
But it was the shinny game that many had highlighted on their agendas.
William was given three clear shots. The goalie made two saves and the prince missed the net on the third.
"I tried giving him one," said Calvin Lomen, 20, from Fort Liard, N.W.T. "He said, 'Please let the ball go into the net.' But it hit my stick instead and I wound up saving it.
"He looked like he knew what he was doing. I heard him say he doesn't know how to play, but it seemed like he had a natural talent if he practised more."
The royal couple was given red Canadian jerseys emblazoned with the Maple Leaf, but opted to hold them up rather than put them on.
The crowd seemed delighted. One woman's sign read: "I can still marry Harry," a reference to William's still-single brother. Her phone number was evident below. One little girl at the front was dressed in the red, white and blue of the British flag.
N.W.T. Premier Floyd Roland joked about the rainy weather that marred the couple's arrival in the territory the day before. More rain was predicted for Tuesday, but the clouds parted and the sun shone brightly.
"We have made every effort to mark your visit today with a full representation of our territory's finest," Roland said. "We even called on some powerful people to change the weather for us from yesterday's arrival.
"During your visit, I hope you will feel welcome enough not to just observe our territory, but to experience it and partake in all the adventure that it holds and, above all, to feel you are amongst friends."
The couple then took in a session of Youth Parliament at the territorial legislature, where young delegates spoke of the need for better education and opportunity in the North.
The couple then boarded a float plane for a flight to Blachford Lake, north of Great Slave Lake, where they were supposed to go for a canoe ride.
They were also supposed to sit around a lakeside campfire with members of the Canadian Rangers, a largely aboriginal group of reservists who act as the military's eyes and ears in the North. The menu included tea and bannock, a traditional First Nations flat cake.
On Wednesday, the royal couple was planning to make a stop in the fire-damaged Alberta town of Slave Lake before beginning a 24-hour private break at an undisclosed location.
They are to conclude their tour at the Stampede in Calgary on Friday.