SOCHI, Russia - Canadians shopping at the gift store at Canada Olympic House in Olympic Park got a surprise Friday when they saw actor Taylor Kitsch in the lineup.
The actor, who was born in Kelowna, B.C., arrived from Moscow where he had been promoting his film "Lone Survivor." Having wrangled a visa and eventually finding a hotel room, he flew into Sochi on Thursday night to catch the end of the Canada-Norway men's hockey game.
"It's been great, it's been really great," he told The Canadian Press. "And I know a couple of guys on the (Canadian hockey) team so we'll go see them tonight. We saw them last night.
"Then I'm going to see two (games) tomorrow and hopefully one on Sunday."
He's slated to leave Sunday night.
"The visa won't let me stay any longer," he lamented. "I would have stayed way longer."
It was Canada Day at Canada Olympic House so anyone with a Canadian passport was allowed in, including Roch Voisine who entertained.
Spotted in the gift store lineup, Kitsch chatted with fans and happily posed for photos.
Kitsch, who makes his home in Austin, Tex., is a friend of Team Canada and New York Rangers forward Rick Nash.
"I did a film in New York City and we just ran into each other. We're just big fans of one another."
The 32-year-old actor is an avid sports fans.
"Man, I grew up playing hockey. I played 20 years. As we all know, hockey is life up there. This is a dream come true, especially just to be in Russia. Pretty incredible."
Kitsch did not get to the Vancouver Games four years ago but his brother benefited from his connections.
"Like I said we're pretty spoiled, we can get tickets," the actor said. "And he got so spoiled because I was in London and I had access to get tix. And so he went to like five or six games. And brought his son and all that. So it did work out well. But I was jealous."
Kitsch's film resume includes "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," "John Carter," "Battleship," "Savages" and "The Great Seduction." He also starred in the TV series "Friday Night Lights."
Most recently he played a Navy SEAL in "Lone Survivor," the true-story of Marcus Luttrell and his fellow SEALs on an ill-fated U.S. special forces operation in Afghanistan.
"We're over the moon," he said of the reaction to the movie. "We really are. It's beyond expectations.
"Word of mouth is everything and it had a life of its own. It's pretty unprecedented. We're flattered. Even the response we've gotten in Russia has been very similar — standing O's (ovations), you know, grown men taking a breath at the end. It's really validating. It feels great."
Directed by Peter Berg, the film also stars Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana.
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Go USA! But super bummed Zetterberg is out of the Olympics