TORONTO - Hockey fans will get a taste of Ontario's looming election battle during the Stanley Cup final Wednesday night.

The Progressive Conservatives unleashed new attack ads aimed at Premier Dalton McGuinty, including a television spot that was to air during Game 7.

As the Vancouver Canucks faced off against the Boston Bruins before a massive audience on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, the Tories were to take shots at McGuinty's record on taxes.

The Liberals have also bought some advertising time during the crucial game for a 60-second campaign-style commercial that started airing across the province last week.

But unlike their rivals, the Tories are putting McGuinty's face front and centre.

The 30-second spot features an unflattering picture of the premier as an ominous voice warns that McGuinty will hike taxes again if re-elected on Oct. 6.

"Since getting elected eight years ago, Dalton McGuinty has become the taxman, taking more and more out of Ontario family budgets," the voice intones.

The narrator lists a number of levies brought in under McGuinty's watch, including the HST, the health tax of up to $900 per worker and the eco fees on household products that the governing Liberals cancelled last year after a public uproar.

"The taxman is so used to making you pay, he can't even see how hard it is on you," the narrator says.

The ad ends with feel-good images of Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, who promises to lower taxes, including taking the provincial portion of the HST off hydro bills.

McGuinty shrugged off his "taxman" label with a laugh Wednesday.

"I think most people are going to be focused on the game," he said. "Let (the Tories) do whatever it is that they choose to do."

The premier is nowhere to be seen in the Liberal commercial, which features McGuinty's voice, although he's not identified.

As music plays over images of factory workers, firefighters and farmers, the unseen McGuinty asks what defines Ontario, and then answers it's "the way we work together."

The Liberals unveiled the ad May 30, one day after the Progressive Conservatives formally released their campaign platform, promising to cut income taxes and remove the provincial portion of the harmonized sales tax from electricity and home heating bills.

The Liberal campaign team said it wasn't trying to distance itself from McGuinty, who has been lagging behind Hudak in recent public opinion polls.

Campaign co-chair Greg Sorbara explained that there's no need to identify the premier, because many people know who he is already.

Tory officials say they want Hudak driving home their message about lower taxes and better government.

"They've hidden Dalton McGuinty from a lot of things that they've done in the last little while," said Tory campaign official Jason Lietaer. "They can speak for their own advertising strategy. We're not going to speak to them."

He said the ad will run on television and radio for two weeks across the province, including Chinese and Punjabi stations.

Neither party will say how much they're spending on the pre-election ads, which don't count towards campaign spending limits because the writ hasn't dropped.