A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs & the Rise of Professional Hockey by Stephen J. HarperA Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs & the Rise of Professional Hockey by Stephen J. Harper

A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs & the Rise of Professional Hockey

byStephen J. Harper

Hardcover | November 5, 2013

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Drawing on extensive archival records and illustrations, histories of the sport, and newspaper files, Canada’s Prime Minister delves into the fascinating early years of ice hockey.

In the tumultuous beginnings of hockey, the fights were as much off the ice as on it. A Great Game is about the hockey heroes and hard-boiled businessmen who built the game, and the rise and fall of legendary teams pursuing the Stanley Cup. With a historian’s perspective and fan’s passion, Stephen Harper presents a riveting and often surprising portrait of the early years of hockey, capturing everything from the physical contests on the rinks to the battles behind the scenes.

A Great Game shows how much about hockey has stayed the same. Rough play, fervent hometown loyalties, owner-player contract disputes, partisan news coverage, and big money were issues from the get-go. Was hockey to be a game of obsessed amateurs playing for the love of the sport, or was it a game for paid professionals who would give fans what they wanted?

A century ago rinks could melt, and by halftime the blades screwed to the players’ shoes could be sinking in mud, but the hockey pioneers were unstoppable. Teams sprang up across North America, from Victoria to Winnipeg, Halifax to Montreal, and Detroit to Pittsburgh. In the Queen City, in spite of the fanatical opposition of amateur hockey leaders, early teams such as the Toronto Professionals of 1908 and the Toronto Blue Shirts of 1914 took turns battling for Toronto’s very first Stanley Cup. These “forgotten Leafs” would lay the groundwork for the world’s most profitable hockey franchise.

In A Great Game, Stephen Harper brings alive the history of hockey’s first decades and pays passionate tribute to the earliest star players of the game. This entertaining and original book will captivate fans from start to finish.
Like millions of other Canadians, Stephen Harper developed his love for hockey at a young age as he played at the arenas and on the shinny rinks and roads of his hometown. Today, long retired from his on-ice “career” with the Leaside Lions, he is the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada and is happily married to Laureen, who, with their child...
Title:A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs & the Rise of Professional HockeyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 1.2 inPublished:November 5, 2013Publisher:Simon & SchusterLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1476716536

ISBN - 13:9781476716534

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Date published: 2015-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hockey the great game I received this book for Christmas and I enjoyed it thoroughly during the holidays. The great game that we take for granted really didn't start that long ago. Interesting that hockey was basically started by lacrosse players that put on skates. Funny that lacrosse never lasted as a sport in Canada but hockey certainly did. Really enjoyed the book and the history setting!  
Date published: 2014-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Game If you love hockey, you must read this book.
Date published: 2014-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good read. This is an excellent book for the hockey enthusiast with a keen interest on the early history of hockey. Very well researched and laid out in a sensible way for easy reading.
Date published: 2013-12-16

Editorial Reviews

A Great Game is a "...readable and entertaining historical exposition of the early organizational days of Canada's most beloved sport...[Harper is] an unreconstructed sentimentalist about hockey. He romances the game, focusing on its sepia-toned infancy."