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Canada's prime minister to publish book on hockey history

OTTAWA -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has penned a tome on the history of hockey for hockey-mad Canadian voters that will hit bookstores later this year, his publisher announced Thursday.

The as-yet-untitled book tells “the intriguing, little-known story of the origins of professional hockey, where strong personalities and philosophies battled to define not only how the game would be played on ice, but by whom,” said a statement.

Started during the 2006 election campaign that swept Harper's Conservatives to power, the book will be published by Simon & Schuster in Canada and the United States in November.

Harper had worked on it between campaign stops, jotting down ideas on scraps of paper.

Globe and Mail reporter Roy MacGregor was later enlisted to help create a “portrait of hockey at the turn of the 20th century” that includes the first quests for the Stanley Cup and the rise of professional hockey.

To tell the story Harper draws on extensive archival records and illustrations, early hockey histories, and newspaper archives.

“Canadians from all walks of life enjoy cheering on the great heroes of our national game, but it wasn't always that way,” said Harper.

“The early days of professional hockey featured outsized personalities who fought pitched battles to shape the game we know and love today.”

“Writing this book has taught me a lot about hockey and a great deal more about Canada.”

Royalties from the book will go to support the families of Canadian soldiers injured or killed in action.

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