Some young hockey players in Whistler got an incredible surprise at practice Thursday night when pop singer Justin Bieber showed up and joined them on the ice.
The midget A1 Winterhawks were joined by Bieber who donned hockey gear to play a four-on-four scrimmage with them.
"I told the kids he's our affiliate player for the night," Whistler Minor Hockey Association president Steve Legge told CTV News.
As Bieber was shaking the players' hands, Legge said the kids didn't realize who he was at first because he was wearing his hockey helmet.
"Then one of the kids goes aren't you Justin Bieber? He admitted it," Legge said.
The Winterhawks are all aged 15-17 and are the highest level team in the WMHA. Legge said Bieber held his own in the game—even scoring a couple of goals.
"He's very fit. He was pretty impressive to our kids too," Legge said. "He's very humble and very respectful. It was awesome. Just an amazing experience for the kids."
Bieber's people contacted Legge on Wednesday night, but didn't reveal at first that it would be Bieber himself—just a high level celebrity based in Los Angeles. Legge initially thought it might be a player on the L.A. Kings.
But at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, he got a text confirming the star would show up to practice.
Legge didn't tell any parents, only the head coach. They also made all the players turn in their cellphones beforehand. Still, photos of the surprise visit were circulated widely on Twitter.
Rob Palm, who says his son plays on the Winterhawks hockey team, praised Bieber's hockey skills in a Facebook post.
"The Biebs has pretty good hands and knew exactly where to be," Palm wrote. "He was super humble and a true gentleman. I gained a lot of respect for him as a result."
Legge said Bieber mentioned plans to go snowboarding while he was in town, but isn't sure if he made it on the mountain.
"He must like going to Whistler because nobody bothers him," he said. "He gets to be a young man having fun again."