OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's long-awaited book on ice hockey, which he wrote each day during breaks from dealing with policy, crises and scandals, will finally make its appearance in November.
"A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey" will be released on November 5 in Canada and the United States, publisher Simon & Schuster said on Wednesday.
Harper's literary agent, Michael Levine, said the prime minister would carve out 10 or 15 minutes a day to work on the book, delving into archival records, histories and newspaper files. "It was a daily exercise," Levine said. "This exercise probably extended over a decade."
As a member of Parliament for Calgary, Alberta, Harper has declared loyalty to the National Hockey League's Calgary Flames.
But he was born and raised in Toronto and he remains devoted to the Toronto Maple Leafs, an extremely successful franchise even though the team hasn't won the NHL's Stanley Cup since 1967, when Harper was eight.
The early days of the Leafs and their forerunners are a major part of the book's focus. "A century ago, rinks could melt, and by half-time the blades screwed to the players' shoes could be sinking in mud," Simon & Schuster said in its release.
"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," the release said. "Against the fanatical opposition of amateur hockey leaders, these 'forgotten Leafs' would lay the groundwork for the world's most profitable hockey franchise."
Harper is famous for his lack of charisma, and one pundit has predicted already the book will be "supremely dull," but Levine insists it is a riveting portrayal of colorful hockey characters.
The prime minister will turn over his proceeds from book sales to a fund for military families with unforeseen needs.
(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway)