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Harry puts the 2017 Invictus Games on ice as he drops puck to start hockey game

Prince Harry has marked the launch of next year's Toronto Invictus Games by dropping a puck to symbolically start a sledge hockey game - but quickly said he would not be joining in.

Harry was mobbed by hundreds of youngsters invited to watch the exhibition encounter at Toronto's Mattamy Athletic Centre.

After a major ceremony to launch the third Invictus Games, which will be hosted by Toronto in 2017, the prince symbolically kicked off the sledge hockey game with the traditional puck-dropping ceremony.

Sledge hockey - a form of ice hockey for players with disabilities - will be a new addition to the Games next year and at the Centre - the former Maple Leaf Gardens venue - Harry joined in the fun.

He was accompanied by Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau and the prince dropped the puck between two players - who were caught a little unawares as they were posing for official pictures.

Harry held out his arms in mock disappointment but was given the puck as a souvenir.

Earlier he went out into the middle of the ice to greet the hundreds of screaming schoolchildren sitting in the stands and when asked by a compere why he had picked the new event of sledge hockey for Invictus said: "This is Canada, everything happens on ice."

He said about the Canadian organisers: "It was a very easy decision for them to say we really (want) a sledge hockey team to be part of the Games.

"The only thing that worries me is somebody somewhere is thinking how they are going to get me on the ice - looking at these guys I'm already going to say no."

Harry stood in a team dug-out with Mr Trudeau during the exhibition match and even banged on the protective plastic wall behind him to encourage the children.

And when he left he high-fived the kids who surged forward to meet their special guests and he had a brief chat with a few of them.


From Belfast Telegraph