Mitchel Raphael on stampede hockey

And the Playboy playmate who sat in Harper’s chair

Stampede hockey
Rick Dykstra, Jim Prentice, Blake RichardsJason Kenney moonlights as a hockey coach
Nothing says Calgary Stampede like a lively game of hockey. While the big summer festival was in full steam, Alberta Conservative MP Blake Richards organized the Wild Rose Hockey Challenge charity match between MPs and Alberta MLAs. Environment Minister Jim Prentice played centre. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney was one of the coaches. “He was a good motivator,” quips Richards, “not so good on the strategic plays.” The game included NHL pros Dana Tyrell, Zach Boychuk and Jay Rosehill, who just signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Richards says Rosehill was traded from the MPs’ team to the MLAs during the game because the MLAs were doing so poorly. In the end, the MPs won 17 to 13. The event raised $10,000 for victims-of-crime funds in Richards’ riding of Wild Rose. Richards is helping keep up the athletic reputation of the MP he replaced in the last election, Conservative Myron Thompson. “He was quite a ball player,” notes Richards of Thompson’s younger days. “He tried out for the New York Yankees. He could really hit.” Richards, who used to work for Thompson when he was an MP, says his old boss is now selling steel buildings for use in the oil patch and on farms.

Shannon Tweed, Gene Simmons, Pierre PoilievreShannon Tweed’s parliamentary tour guide
When celebrity couple Kiss rocker Gene Simmons and former Playboy playmate/actress Shannon Tweed needed a tour of the Parliament Buildings, they were put in touch with Ottawa MP Pierre Poilievre, a 30-year-old conservative Conservative not exactly known for moving in rock-star circles. Tweed, a former Newfoundlander, had contacted Tory supporter and former Ottawa city councillor Linda Davis, a friend from the days when the actress was living in Ottawa. Davis hooked her and Simmons up with Poilievre, who took the couple to the library of Parliament and the House of Commons, where Tweed sat in Stephen Harper’s seat and Simmons sat in Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon’s seat. Later Senator Hugh Segal joined the group and gave them a tour of the Senate. The couple, who were being followed by video cameras for their reality TV show Gene Simmons Family Jewels, were also taken to Senate Speaker Noël Kinsella’s office. When Tweed saw the gilded mace, she quipped: “Oh, that’s where I left that.” Simmons thought it looked like “an old club.” Poilievre replied: “The Senate itself is an old club.” Poilievre says he was happy to help boost Ottawa’s tourism appeal by getting the sights of Parliament Hill onto a popular TV show. “I like Gene Simmons,” he says. “He’s a great entrepreneur.”

Niki AshtonMP chastised for fashion choices
The NDP is busy putting together its convention in Halifax, which starts Aug. 14. The youthful co-hosts of the event are Halifax MP Megan Leslie, 35, and Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, 26. Leslie’s staff are crashing at her place but there will be no outdoor activities at her home. “I have fire ants in the backyard,” says the MP. The ants, she says, are now a huge problem in Halifax. Leslie has been keeping in shape for the event, working out and keeping her arms toned. During the last session of Parliament, Leslie was chastised by a female Conservative minister who said an MP should never go sleeveless. Leslie disagreed: “I have the right to ‘bare’ arms,” she quipped. “And if I am going to show them, I want them to look good.” Good thing the minister didn’t notice Leslie’s tongue ring.

Alexa McDonoughAlexa’s dance performance
Alexa McDonough was named interim president of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. It’s a bit of a full-circle moment for the former NDP leader who, as a child, went with her dance class to the then women-only university and performed for the nuns.