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A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey by Prime Minister Stephen HarperHand-out

Stephen Harper's long-anticipated hockey history book will hit the shelves on Nov. 5, and judging by its newly released title, will be of particular interest to fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey, publisher Simon & Schuster Canada says, will delve into the history of early professional teams that were precursors to the Leafs in Toronto.

Simon & Schuster revealed the release date, title and cover photo on Wednesday.

The book has been a long, slow labour of love for Mr. Harper, a hockey buff who began writing it in 2004 – before he became Prime Minister.

It "tells of the hockey heroes and hard-boiled businessmen who built the game, and the rise and fall of legendary teams pursuing the Stanley Cup," the blurb from Simon & Schuster said.

"A century ago, rinks could melt, and by half-time, the blades screwed to the players' shoes could be sinking in mud," the publisher said. "It was during this period that the unsuccessful Toronto Professionals of 1908 and the victorious Toronto Blue Shirts of 1914 battled for the city's very first Stanley Cup. Against the fanatical opposition of amateur hockey leaders, these 'forgotten Leafs' would lay the groundwork for the world's most profitable hockey franchise."

All author royalties from the work will go to Canadian military families. Proceeds will be funnelled through the Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services to support the Military Families Fund, which provides emergency financial assistance.

Roy MacGregor, a columnist for The Globe and Mail, helped the Prime Minister with the book, providing "editorial services," according to Simon & Schuster.

The book's cover and the promotional trailer can be viewed at

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