September 20, 2014

Hockey Card Stories by Ken Reid

Hockey Card Stories: True Tales from Your Favourite Players
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From The Publisher: Hockey Card Stories reveals what was really going on in your favourite old hockey cards through the eyes of the players depicted on them. Some of the cards are definitely worth a few bucks, some a few cents — but every story told here is priceless. Sportsnet’s Ken Reid presents the cards you loved and the airbrushed monstrosities that made you howl, the cards that have been packed away in boxes forever, and others you can’t believe ever existed. Whether it’s a case of mistaken identity or simply a great old photo, a fantastic 1970s haircut and ’stache, a wicked awesome goalie mask or a future Hall of Famer’s off-season fashion sense, a wide variety of players — from superstars like Bobby Orr, Denis Potvin, and Phil Esposito to the likes of Bill Armstrong who played only one game in the NHL — chime in on one of their most famous cards.

Joe's Note: Noted hockey author Stephen Brunt sums it up best on the back of the book when he says "My mom threw out my hockey cards, so I couldn't write this book. But thank god Ken Reid did."

This is a fantastic anthology of hockey biographies. Reid takes the tried and true (if tired) hockey book formula of collecting short biographies and stories of players from the past, but breathes new life into by centering it around a hockey card. We all collected hockey cards as kids and Reid takes us back with a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

From there Reid's witty and cheery writing style instantly captures the reader, making this a hard book to put down. Whether you ready about Bobby Orr, Rogie Vachon or Denis Potvin, or some lesser-knowns you likely never heard of like Mark Lofthouse or Bob Paradise, this is just a fantastic read from cover to cover. He shares not only the players' thoughts about the featured hockey card, but about his career and often a funny story.

Reid's passion for this project is immediately obvious. He's got a hit on his hands here. I am fully expecting Hockey Card Stories 2 down the road (not to mention a baseball spin-off).

By the way, the cover of this book, designed like an old school hockey card wrapper, is just fantastic. Good job by ECW Press all around here. It's too bad they couldn't include a stiff stick of that pink gum that only a kid could chew. That would have made this book epic!


September 18, 2014

Ice Storm: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Vancouver Canucks Team Ever

Ice Storm: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Vancouver Canucks Team Ever
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From the publisher ... "An incendiary inside look at the Canucks' meteoric rise to the top of the NHL and their dramatic post-riot fall to mediocrity—all at a time when new efforts are being launched to save the once-great team.

In 2008, the Vancouver Canucks were Team Modern, revolutionizing the NHL under their new GM, former player agent Mike Gillis. Cool, calculating, and unsparing with the media, the onetime number one draft pick of the old Colorado Rockies swept away the tangled psychological past of the Canucks with bold innovation, remodeling Vancouver as a destination city for NHL star players. To do so, he built the Canucks from a non-playoff team in 2008 to the best in hockey from 2010-2012. He modernized the players' diets and psychological approach, he rebuilt the dressing room, and he sought sleep consultants to help with the Canucks' punishing travel schedule. More than that, his winning team lifted Vancouver from eighth overall in NHL revenues to second by 2013. When the team took to the ice for Game 7 of the 2011 Cup Final, it seemed there was nothing the Canucks couldn't overcome with their "Canucktivity" approach. The hockey world was at their feet.

But things changed in Game 7. Physically exhausted and bullied by the Bruins, the Canucks succumbed 4-0. To cap the greatest season in team history, Vancouver rioted. Gillis tried a number of aggressive moves to get back to the Final, from switching Luongo for Schneider to trading players, but nothing worked. From there, the dominoes fell: Alain Vigneault was dismissed, John Tortorella hired; Tortorella raged, fans bayed for Gillis' head; and finally, Gillis and Tortorella were both fired. In spring 2014, tried-and-true Canuck hero Trevor Linden was installed as president, with former teammate Jim Benning by his side as GM. No one was quite sure if this was an improvement, but at least the hysterical screaming had stopped.

How did it happen? Ice Storm follows the journey that led the Canucks from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the abyss in six short years.

Joe's Note: This book certainly has changed in scope since it was first announced. I fear the author will not give the team the respect they deserved - hey no one else does either - and can only hope he approaches this objectively.



2014 Hockey Book of the Day today has to be this Finnish release which is making headlines across the hockey world today. Teemu very honestly and openly discusses his unhappiness with coach Bruce Boudreau and how his career ends. Read through Juha Hiitela's twitter timeline for lots of details. Book will be released in English in 2015 sometime.


September 15, 2014

Boy On Ice: The Life And Death Of Derek Boogaard

Boy On Ice: The Life And Death Of Derek Boogaard
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From The Publisher: The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter's heartbreaking account of the life and shocking death of the toughest man in hockey.

Boy on Ice is New York Times reporter John Branch's chronicle of Boogaard's tragic life and death. A human story in the tradition of Friday Night Lights and The Blind Side, it's a book that raises deep and disturbing questions about the systemic brutality of contact sports-from peewees to professionals-and damage that reaches far beyond the game. Derek Boogaard was a mountain of a man who lived an almost mythic sports story: from pond-hockey on the prairies of Saskatchewan to a first NHL contract in Minnesota, to the storied New York Rangers as the most-feared enforcer in the league. A gentle young man, he was a brutal fighter on ice skates, capable of delivering career-ending punches and intimidating entire teams. But at twenty-eight, his death from an overdose of painkillers in the wake of a series of concussions helped shatter the silence about violence in professional sports.

Boy on Ice is a heart-rending, riveting inside look at the life of an enforcer, a book that, unlike any other, reveals in dynamic fashion the rules on the ice, where reputations are won and careers can depend on a single punch. In the case of Derek Boogaard, his final battle, with prescription medication, cost him his life.


The Hockey Saint by Howard Shapiro

The Hockey Saint by Howard Shapiro
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From The Publisher: The Hockey Saint is a graphic novel about friendship, fame and what we sacrifice for ambition and success.

Twenty one year old Jeremiah Jacobson is the world's best hockey player, but he wasn't prepared for the frenzy and scrutiny that came with that title. Tom Leonard is an average college sophomore - just a guy trying to find his place in the world as he sorts through issues that are both very real and seemingly insurmountable.

Through a chance meeting, these two strike up an unlikely friendship. Their bond is tested when Tom discovers that his idol isn't as perfect up close as he seems from afar. With Jeremiah living a little too much in the moment and with his past catching up to him, will tom be able to help him before it's too late?


September 14, 2014

The Ultimate Cookbook For Hockey Families

Anyone with a kid or kids in minor hockey knows how hectic life can be. So why not get some meal ideas from 25 pros such as Kyle Turris, Jay McClemment and Cassie Campbell!

The Ultimate Cookbook for Hockey Families
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From The Publisher: Hockey families across Canada face a familiar dilemma: How do you cook for kids who are on the ice six nights a week and eat dinner at different times each evening? Breakaway: The Ultimate Cookbook for Hockey Families provides the answer: simple, easy, nutritious meals that kids will eat. This book is filled with tips and tricks to relieve the stress on busy hockey parents, whether they’re juggling meals at home or trying to come up with something nutritious on the road. In this book, hockey stars like Ottawa Senators centre Kyle Turris, Toronto Maple Leafs assistant captain Jay McClement, and Olympic gold medalist Cassie Campbell offer their recipes and their secrets for how they prepare for the big game and how they feed their muscles afterwards. With hockey embedded in the design and in every recipe, tip, and trick, this book aims to delight and inform aspiring hockey players, figure skaters, and the whole family support team.


September 11, 2014

Super Scorers, Great Goalies And Dominant Defensemen by Eric Zweig

An eye-catching trilogy of kids hockey books (sold separately) by Eric Zweig and the Hockey Hall of Fame. Always a fun read with the kids:

Hockey Hall of Fame Kids series
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Here's more directly from the author: Got back from our trip on Monday to find a box full of my newest hockey books for children. A set of three done for Firefly and their Hockey Hall of Fame series. If you have a boy or a girl within a few years either side of 10, these books are a great way to introduce them to the greats of the game. Focusing mainly on players who played in the 70s, 80s, and 90s (ie, Hall of Famers the parents -- and even grandparents -- of 10 years olds are most likely to have seen play!), there are also "Blasts from the Past" featuring earlier stars, "Modern Matches" pairing Hall of Famers with the stars of today, and photos and memorabilia from the Hall of Fame Archives. I wrote them, so what am I going to say, but honestly, they're really great and very well designed, as are all books from Firefly! Short, easy-to-read text and colourful photos and illustrations. Most book store web sites say they're available beginning today (September 2), so what are you waiting for?


The Last Hockey Game by Bruce McDougall

The Last Hockey Game
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From The Publisher: On May 2, 1967, Montreal and Toronto faced each other in a battle for hockey supremacy. This was only the fifth time the teams had ever played each other in the Stanley Cup finals. Toronto led the series 3-2.

But this wasn't simply a game. From the moment Foster Hewitt announced "Hello Canada and hockey fans in the United States," the game became a turning point in sports history. That night, the Leafs would win the Cup. The next season, the National Hockey League would expand to twelve teams. Players would form an association to begin collective bargaining. Hockey would become big business. The NHL of the "Original Six" would be a thing of the past.

It was The Last Hockey Game.

Placing us in the announcers' booth, in the seats of excited fans, and in the skates of the players, Bruce McDougall scores with a spectacular account of every facet of that final fateful match. As we meet players such as Gump Worsley, Tim Horton, Terry Sawchuk, and Eddie Shack, as well as coaches, owners, and fans, The Last Hockey Game becomes more than a story of a game. It also becomes an elegy, a lament for an age when, for all its many problems, the game was played for the love of it.

Joe's Note: Ripe with description that brings many of hockey's characters from the past back to life, McDougall's book The Last Hockey Game is an interesting look at how hockey has changed through the lens of just one hockey game - the final game of the 1967 Stanley Cup final.


50 Greatest Red Wings by Bob Duff

50 Greatest Red Wings
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From The Publisher - Howe, Yzerman, Fedorov, Lidstrom, Lindsay and Shanahan. Bob Duff's 50 Greatest Red Wings is the definitive list Hockeytown's heroes. Including members of the famous Production Line and The Red Army, 50 Greatest Red Wings features full statistics and in-depth player analysis. With rarely seen photos and astonishing anecdotes this book is essential to any hockey collection.


The Big Book of Hockey Fun by The Hockey News

The Hockey News: The Big Book of Hockey Fun
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From The Publisher: The Hockey News’ latest book, The Big Book of Hockey Fun, is the perfect pickup for the purest fans in the hockey world: kids. Written by THN’s stable of experts, along with some of the industry’s top hockey writers, the book features a variety of stories, told through detailed accounts and vivid first-hand recollections. It also includes plenty of puzzles and pictures for young fans of the world’s greatest game.

Joe's Note: This looks like a great stocking stuffer for the younger hockey fan on your Christmas shopping list.


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