A Great Game

The Forgotten Leafs & the Rise of Professional Hockey

A Great Game

From Canada’s twenty-second prime minister, the new trade paperback edition of the bestselling history of hockey’s early days.

Published to praise from reviewers in both the US and Canada, A Great Game brings alive the hockey heroes and hard-boiled businessmen who built the game of hockey and pays passionate tribute to the earliest star players of the game—lavishly illustrated with captivating photographs throughout.

Stephen Harper has crafted a "readable and entertaining historical exposition of the early organizational days of Canada's most beloved sport" (Toronto Star). With a historian’s perspective and fan’s passion, Harper presents a riveting, often-surprising portrait, capturing everything from the physical contests on the rinks to the battles behind the scenes and the changing social conventions of the twentieth century.

A Great Game shows that many things have stayed the same. Rough play, fervent hometown loyalties, owner-player contract disputes, dubious news coverage, and big money were issues from the get-go. Harper’s meticulous research yields "insightful examinations of class and religion and the roles they played in a country that still saw itself as a pillar of the British Empire, all viewed through the prism of hockey at the dawn of the pro era" (The New York Times).

An instant Canadian bestseller, A Great Game resurrects the history of hockey’s first decades. With photographs of the game’s earliest arenas and star players, this impressive and original account will entertain and educate you from start to finish. "Thanks to Stephen Harper’s impressive book of early hockey history in Toronto, the ‘forgotten Leafs’ will be forgotten no more" (The Washington Times).
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476716541 | 
  • October 2014
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An extended look at A Great Game

Hockey. It’s always been our game. Our passion. From its earliest days, strong personalities and philosophies battled to define not only how the game would be played, but who would play it. In A Great Game we meet the hockey heroes and hard-boiled businessmen who built the sport, watch the rise and fall of hockey dynasties, and discover how big money has driven the game from its earliest days.

About the Author

Stephen J. Harper
PMO Photo by Jason Ransom

Stephen J. Harper

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 shiny rinks and roads of his hometown. Today, long retired from his on-ice “career” with the Leaside Lions, he is the twenty-second Prime Minister of Canada and is happily married to Laureen, who, with their children Ben and Rachel, live in Calgary and Ottawa. A member of the Society of International Hockey Research with a particular interest in the early decades of the game, Mr. Harper is an amateur historian interested in exploring the sport’s impact on the people and places that define Canada. A Great Game is his first published work on the game of hockey.