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TORONTO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a tight race for re-election, has won an endorsement from perhaps Canada's best-known athlete, hockey player Wayne Gretzky, CBC news reported on Friday. Gretzky, who became the leading scorer in NHL history playing with teams including the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings, appeared with Harper at an event in Toronto. "I think you have been an unreal prime minister," Gretzky said, following a brief question-and-answer session with Harper, according to the CBC report. Gretzky said that Harper has been "wonderful to the country," it added. The report noted Gretzky would not be allowed to vote in the Oct. 19 election because he lives in the United States. Under Canadian law, citizens who have lived abroad for more than five years lose the right to vote in the upcoming federal election. Harper's right-leaning Conservatives, who have ruled the country for nearly a decade, are in a tight three-way race with the center-left Liberals and New Democratic Party. (Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Ken Wills)