Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

PM Harper's hockey book to drop next year

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OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper -- the hockey nut that he is -- has spent nearly a decade writing a book about Canada's national winter sport. Now, comes word that he is intent on finishing the tome next year.

Harper has a publisher for the book, which isn't expected to merely be a dry history of the game, but rather, a close look at the professionalization of the sport in the early 1900s.

Don't be surprised if the book lands on store shelves in 2012.

So will he be Hemingway of the North? Will hockey fans throughout the country flock to their nearest bookseller to plunk down their hard-earned cash? Wait for the puck to drop.

Harper's office confirmed Tuesday the prime minister's book will be complete in 2012.

The prime minister is a huge hockey fan with an encyclopedic knowledge about the game of Cyclone Taylor, Maurice "Rocket" Richard and Sidney Crosby.

Harper has long tried to attend as many games as possible -- from the games his son, Ben, used to play in rinks around Ottawa, to the NHL Stanley Cup finals between Boston and Vancouver last spring.

Harper has been working on his literary labour of love for about eight years. He is a member of the Society for International Hockey Research, a network of writers, statisticians, collectors, broadcasters and hockey fans.

Moreover, he has shown he has a way with words when it comes to waxing eloquent about hockey.

He wrote a 5,000-word foreword to a new book published this fall about the 1972 Canada-Russia series, in which Paul Henderson scored the winning goal.

The book, How Hockey Explains Canada, is co-authored by Henderson and Nova Scotia sportswriter Jim Prime.

In the foreword, Harper wrote of how the sport is one of our "greatest exports," how it defines our country and how it unifies us.

"Canada is known throughout the world as the hockey nation," he wrote.

"I meet with many world leaders and representatives of foreign governments and invariably the subject comes up. Many have observed to me that we Canadians are seen as generally a pretty modest, quiet, unassuming-type people -- but they notice with Canadians that when the subject of hockey comes up we get very loud and start waving our arms around. It's a bit of a standing joke. Everybody notices this!"

 

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 26, 2011 A29

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