After the Columbus Blue Jacket post yesterday, I noticed this article about then-coach Ken Hitchcock. Turns out Hitch was a Civil War buff even before he was hired by the team.
When the NHL locked out the 2004-05 season, Hitchcock made short commutes to Princeton, N.J., to do some voluntary work with the Princeton University hockey team. And he took that as an excuse to sit in on lectures presented by the eminent historian, Dr. James McPherson, who has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his work on the Civil War. One of McPherson’s books, Battle Cry of Freedom, is credited with the renaissance in interest about the conflict. Another of his prizewinning books is entitled: For Cause and Comrades. Why men fought in the Civil War.
Hitchcock also lunches, on odd occasions, with Jeff Shaara, a best-selling author of copiously researched historical novels. Shaara is best known for completing the Civil War trilogy that was started by his late father, Michael Shaara, whose masterpiece about Gettysburg, The Killer Angels, is a must read in the genre.
“I’ve had lunch a couple of times with the coach,” Jeff Shaara said in December. “We’re not close friends or anything because we don’t know each other that well. But I can say I enjoy his company, his interests. What I do is explore characters. He asks me about Grant, Lee, Jackson and other commanders. It makes sense from a logical point of view. The business he’s in, leadership is everything. You can talk all you want about strategy and tactics, but leadership is everything.”
I’ve read that Maple Leafs’ GM Brian Burke is also a buff. He’d be more than welcome to stop in to our Toronto Civil War Round Table events, hint hint!