September 6, 2021

Book Review: Hockey Quotes by J. Alexander Poulton


 

J. Alexander Poulton is a hockey book machine. He has mass produced almost 50 titles, most about hockey. They almost always follow the same small, paperback format. They are always affordable, and while they aren't going to win whatever hockey's version of a Pulitzer prize is, they can be fun reads.

One of my favorites is Hockey Quotes. It is compilation of quotes from and about the hockey world, nothing more nothing less. It's a fun little diddy to pick up now and again and flip through, whether you are looking for a little hockey wisdom or humor. 

Coaches are always very quotable. Perhaps it is because a big part of their job is to talk to the media. But I've always enjoyed a few zingers from the coaches. Here's a few included in the book

"I know my players don't like my practices, but that's okay because I don't like their games." - Harry Neale.

"I've got nothing to say, and I'm only going to say it once." - Floyd Smith.

"There are still two or three guys who aren't willing to pay the price to win a game. This is not Wal-Mart. There are no discounts in this league." - Ron Wilson.

"Your playing gets worse and worse every day, and now you're playing like it's next week." - Herb Brooks.

"I'm not the greatest coach in the world. But if you look around this room you'll see that I don't have the greatest players, either." - Boom Boom Geoffrion. 

"You've got to get players to do what they don't want to do," Ken Hitchcock.

"Maybe one of the qualities of being a great coach is being a jerk. There are quite a few of them around." - Larry Robinson


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September 4, 2021

NHL's Greatest Players - 1936 Edition

This is the March 14, 1936 edition of Liberty magazine. It features a generic Montreal Maroons player on the cover. 



I'm going to pretend it is Cy Wentworth because the Maroons captain was joined by Clem Loughlin (Chicago Black Hawks), Red Dutton (New York Americans), Sylvio Mantha (Montreal Canadiens), Frank Patrick (Boston Bruins), Hap Day (Toronto Maple Leafs), Doug Young (Detroit Red Wings), and Bill Cook (New York Rangers) as distinguished panelists decide who are the best players in hockey.



Here's who they came up with:



Goaltender: Tiny Thompson of the Boston Bruins.



Defense: Eddie Shore of the Boston Bruins and Ching Johnson of the New York Rangers



Center: Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers



Left Wing: Paul Thompson of the Chicago Black Hawks or Busher Jackson of the Toronto Maple Leafs. They should have used a shoot out to decide ties.



Right Wing: Charlie Conacher of the Toronto Maple Leafs.



Oh yeah, here's a look at Cy Wentworth.


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Soviet Life Magazine


What the heck is this?

It is the February 1984 issue of Soviet Life magazine, an English language magazine for the North American audience. This issue has Wayne Gretzky, Vladislav Tretiak and their fine feathered friend on the cover. 

I turned to the Facebook group "Hockey Books" for more information. List member Andrew Braverman knew all about it the periodical.

Braverman said: "In October 1956, the Soviet and US Governments agreed to allow each other to publish a magazine in their own nation, but limited circulation to 30,000 copies per issue. The Soviet Government published a magazine entitled The USSR, while the US Government published Amerika. A few years later The USSR changed its title to Soviet Life.

Soviet Life was generally not a political magazine, in the sense that it rarely delved into the political issues of the day, nor did it talk about political theory, etc. Instead it focused on Soviet culture (including national minorities), science, education and health care. The last issue of Soviet Life was published on December, 1991."

 

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August 16, 2021

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July 24, 2021

Thunder and Lightning: John Ferguson's Autobiography

I think I camp differently than most people.


Most people like to get out to the campgrounds for a chance to embrace the great outdoors. That is the last thing I'm looking to accomplish when I go camping.


I am an avid hiker and trail runner. Nature, vitamin N as I call it, is very much something I crave. Living in remote northern British Columbia, it is not something I find hard to find.


So when I go camping, I'm looking for quiet time and a chance to read. I can go out for a four day trip and take a couple dozen books, minimum. Running books, travel books and especially my hockey books. 


On this most recent camping trip I found myself lost in an oldie of a hockey book that many people might not even know exists. It is hard to find nowadays, and is called Thunder And Lightning. It is John Ferguson Sr.'s autobiography, written with Stan and Shirley Fischer.


In his day Fergie was both feared and affable on and off the ice. Some consider him the first goon, which isn't accurate on a few fronts. There was lots of goons before him, and he was more than a goon. Fergie could play. But he could also beat the tar out of opponents and often did.


His autobiography was an enjoyable read, covering his youth, minor league and NHL days with the legendary Montreal Canadiens. He also was part of the coaching staff of the 1972 Summit Series team and manager in New York with the Rangers and in Winnipeg with the original Jets.


Through all that time Fergie saw a lot. And he never was shy to share his opinion on most of what he saw. I thoroughly enjoyed reading his impressions of superstars, tough guys and crazy characters he encountered on and off the ice. 


It is interesting to hear him talk about both teammates and opponents. Everyone from Jean Beliveau and Serge Savard to Gordie Howe (who he never fought but truly respected) to Howie Young (who he despised more than anyone else). 


His insights as a manager on the Rod Gilbert and Phil Esposito dynamics in New York or what went wrong with Dale Hawerchuk in Winnipeg.


He also comments on his son, who, at the time of publication, had just been signed as minor league depth by the Montreal Canadiens at the time of publication. Of course many years later he became better known as a hockey manager himself.


If you can find a copy, I'd recommend it. It is an interesting look back at hockey from the 1960s through to the 1990s.

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July 30, 2020

Memories of the 1980 Edmonton Oilers

As I sit in Edmonton on the eve of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, I can't help but think back to the great days of the Oilers dynasty.

Though I grew up a Canucks fan, it was pretty hard not to be an Oilers fan in the 1980s. The Canucks were brutally bad most of the decade, and were almost always feasted upon by Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers. 

The Oilers were nearly unstoppable. They were cocky and tough, high flying and electrifying. They were the most entertaining team I have ever watched.

More over, they were winners. Five Stanley Cup championships in seven years, with Stanley Cup final appearance directly preceding that. Modern teams try to spin their successes as such, but the Edmonton Oilers truly were the last hockey dynasty.

Of course the Oilers were led by #99, Wayne Gretzky. There is no doubt in my mind he was the greatest player whoever played the game. Others will say Bobby Orr, or Gordie Howe or Mario Lemieux. And I will not argue that they were better players necessarily. But the best player is a different argument than the greatest player. The greatest player had the greatest career. And no one comes particularly close to The Great One.

Mark Messier deserves his due in Edmonton. I am a harsh critic of his for his time in New York and especially Vancouver, but in Edmonton he was truly a force. Gretzky's presence kept his ego in check, and coach Glen Sather knew how to unleash Messier at the right time. When the Oilers needed something to change the pace of the game, the Messier line (always with Glenn Anderson at his side) would lead the way with physical play or incredible speed or a big goal.

I could never quite figure out Glenn Anderson. Clutch goal scorer who seemed to always come through the bigger the game was, Anderson could go all night without being remarkable, too. A wonderful skater, his interest in the international game always intrigued me. Early in his career he said he would like to play for the Soviets back before the Iron Curtain came down. As a kid I wondered if it was possible for the Oilers to trade him to the Soviets and who would the Oilers receive in return.

Everyone thinks of Paul Coffey's skating ability when they think of the Oilers star defenseman. That and his reputation for being basically a "offenseman" and not playing defensively particularly well. Scott Niedermayer may be the only player in my lifetime to rival Coffey's skating ability, but when I think back to Coffey's heyday I always think of his first pass brilliance out of his own zone. I think Coffey may be the most underrated player in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Aside from Gretzky, he was so integral to the Oilers emergence.

Jari Kurri was always Gretzky's wing man, quite literally. His goal scoring totals were amazing, but it took a while for the hockey world to give Kurri recognition as one of the best two way players in the history of the game.

Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog were a fantastic tandem, with Bill Ranford arriving later on. Only Fuhr ended up in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but as a BC kid I was always a little more partial to Moog and Ranford. Fuhr played the game purely by instinct. I think he worked harder at his scratch golf game than his hockey sometimes, which is an unfair knock on my behalf. If he could play games and never practice I think he would have been thrilled.

Kevin Lowe was a key guy in the dressing room and one of the best defensive defensemen of his time. Is that enough to get him in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Well, apparently as the HHOF enshrined him in 2020. But I have to disagree. He was good, but was he better than other defensive stalwarts of the era like Brad McCrimmon or Mike Ramsay or Jamie Macoun? None of those guys were close to the era's gold standard of Rod Langway. Lowe was good but his one ice contributions were not as integral to the Oilers' success as the other enshrined Oilers. There's a bit of an "old boys network" smell to this enshrinement. 

Some of my favorite Oilers were the grinders, the role players, the supporting cast. 

Esa Tikkanen was a favorite of mine until the day the Oilers traded Gretzky to the Kings. The Oilers then used Tikkanen to shadow and annoy Gretzky and he was perhaps the most successful player in that impossible shut down role. As a Gretzky fan, I just wanted Tik to go away.

Guys like Marty McSorley, Kevin McLelland, Craig MacTavish, Craig Muni, Charlie Huddy, Steve Smith, Lee Fogolin and Randy Gregg were big and mean, and provided more defensive play than the Oilers were ever given recognition for. Yes, the Oilers were all about offense in the 1980s, but for that ten year period they were ranked 10th (out of 21 teams) defensively.  Average defensively is okay when you had the offense the Oilers had. Their goal differential for the decade was +797 in 800 regular season games after all.

(I believe it was the old coach Tom Watt who said something to the effect that the Oilers always started the game with a one goal lead because of Wayne Gretzky's presence. How right he was!)

Will there ever be a true hockey dynasty again? The salary cap structure suggests no. That is both good and bad. Good as in parity is needed so that fans of every hockey team have to believe their team has a chance to win the Stanley Cup, if not now then in the near future. But it is bad, too, in the sense that we may never see truly great teams ever again.

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October 15, 2018

Book Review: Block That Shot: The Bob Chrystal Story

This is Bob Chrystal. Now I know what you're thinking - who the heck is Bob Chrystal? And, why is there a book about him in 2018?

Chrystal, born in Winnipeg in 1930, played two seasons with the New York Rangers. He patrolled the Broadway blue line in 1953-54 and 1954-55, providing a physical presence with his rugged and enthusiastic play. He also added 11 goals and 25 points in 132 total NHL games.

Before turning pro, Chrystal was a key member of the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Manitoba Junior League, twice appearing in the Memorial Cup, including in 1949 when they lost a heart-breaker to the Montreal Royals.

After his junior career Chrystal spent a year in the USHL with Denver before spending two seasons with the AHL Cleveland Barons. After his two years with Cleveland he was traded to the NHL Rangers.

After his two year stint in the Big Apple concluded, Chrystal returned to the Canadian prairie and the old Western (professional) Hockey League. After a year with the Saskatoon Quakers he returned to Brandon to play with the Regals. Unfortunately the Regals moved to Saskatchewan and later St. Paul, Minnesota, so Bob's homecoming was short though sweet.

In 1958-59 Chrystal played his final season of serious hockey in his hometown with the Winnipeg Warriors.


Now, all these years later, up and coming author Ty Dilello has helped the 88 year old Chrystal pen his autobiography.

Why do you want to read about a long-ago player you likely never heard of when there are so many other hockey books out every year?

It's because every hockey player has a story to tell. And you may discover that a relative no-name like Chrystal has a more interesting story than some. It's a story that will take you back in time, both in terms of hockey in it's golden age, and life on the Canadian prairies and even in New York City when it was a much simpler time. 

The book also features a fascinating collection of newspaper clippings from the Chrystal family collection as well as first hand memories from Emile Francis and Stan Fischler.

Don't dismiss this book about that guy you never heard of before. It might just be the best read of the season.

Block That Shot: The Bob Chrystal Story is now available.

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August 15, 2018

Book Review: Kevin Shea's The Hall



The new hockey season is upcoming, and that also means a new hockey book season.

And if the first hockey book of the new season is going to be any indication, it's going to be a fantastic year for hockey book enthusiasts.

Kevin Shea writes The Hall: Celebrating Hockey's Heritage, Heroes and Home. On the Hall of Fame's 75th anniversary, and the 25th anniversary of the Hall's move to the famed Bank of Montreal building in downtown Toronto.

The book is billed as "A stunning hardcover book that features dramatic and compelling imagery and uncovers the fascinating history of the Hockey Hall of Fame." It is rare that anything lives up to that type of hype, but this book truly does.

With all the photos and features this book serves as both a page turning coffee table book. But there is enough text in here for even the most studied hockey fan to enjoy at length. By now every hockey fan should know a book with Kevin Shea's name on it will be nothing short of fantastic.

The book covers everything from the earliest visions by the Hall's founders to the ghost that haunts the bank where the Stanley Cup resides. Honoured members are front and centre, including a great story about how a kid working at the Hall tried to give Wayne Gretzky some advice on how to shoot a puck at the interactive shooting display.

You will have to wait until September 10th to pick up the book in stores and online. It is part of the National Treasure Series of books that celebrates the Hockey Hall of Fame. The first, A Century of NHL Memories, had a different aura about it that this new book exceeds.

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January 18, 2018

Nine Lessons I Learned From My Father


There has been no shortage of literature on the great Gordie Howe over the many years.

But I do not think I enjoyed a Gordie Howe book more than son Murray Howe's tribute Nine Lessons I Learned From My Father.

It is a most unique look at "Mr. Hockey." Written by Murray Howe, the youngest of his three sons and the only one who did not follow his father into professional hockey. 

 “I am still in awe at the thought that Gordie Howe was my father,” he writes.

Yet he teaches us that Gordie was just like any one of us, and that we are all capable of extraordinary things. Gordie Howe's true calling was not to be the greatest hockey player ever, which many will say he was. Howe's true calling was to be "Mr. Hockey," and as such the game's greatest ambassador.

Murray Howe wanted to be just like his hero - his father. He did not want to be a hero like Gordie Howe, gladiator of the rinks. He just wanted to be like his dad - the amazing man off the ice that most of us never really knew.

It is quite the moving read. There are some great stories about Howe the hockey player, but even more about Howe off the ice and, especially, Howe the family man. His battle with health and aging are well chronicled. This is the truest look into an extraordinary life.

On a personal note I wish I had read this book before I became a step dad well over a decade ago. I spent a lot of time trying to be something the girls would be proud of - a published author who worked with Hockey Canada, the NHL and Canadian Museum of History. On top of that I tried to be a remarkable runner. It was all intended to teach them that with hard work anything is possible. But as the younger Howe tells us in this book it wasn't the fact that his dad was who he was that made him a great dad. Through the nine lessons he teaches us its far more important to be present and buy ice cream. That's what makes you a hero in your kid's eyes.

Check out this MacLean's article featuring Wayne Gretzky interviewing Murray Howe. It in itself is a fantastic read. Be sure to watch for the bookstore on shelves this holiday season.

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November 30, 2017

Weekend Book Reviews: J.P. Bickell, When The Moon Comes, and Killer

J.P. Bickell: The Life, The Leafs, and The Legacy

I have to admit this one surprised me. I mean, why would I, a western Canadian hockey fan, care about the businessman who financed Conn Smythe's Toronto Maple Leafs? That was how many years ago? And, ugh, yet another Leafs book, and this one about some guy no one has ever heard of? But J.P. Bickell: The Life, The Leafs and The Legacy is a fascinating read.

It's a fascinating read mostly because, as it turns out, this is not a hockey book so much as a Canadian history book (well, maybe Ontario history). It just so happens that J.P. Bickell was an incredibly important figure and continues to be many years after his death.

Bickell was a self made millionaire mining magnate who left an enduring legacy not only on the entire industry but the many communities who benefited from such development.

That made Bickell a very wealthy person, and he spread his wealth around. He was instrumental in the founding of the Famous Players movie theatre chain - think about that when you go to the movies next time. He fought in World War II and became very interested in aviation. And he was a great philanthropist. In fact half a century after his death his foundation continues to give away his money to hospitals, scholarships, art galleries and children's camps.

Bickell was also a financier of many sports, most notably the Leafs and Maple Leaf Gardens. He also was involved in boxing, boat racing, baseball and golf.

See, this isn't just another Leafs book. Far from it.

When The Moon Comes


Author Paul Harbridge and illustrator Matt James have teamed up to bring us the fantastic new hockey-themed children's book When The Moon Comes Out.

It's about hockey at it's best - kids playing shinny on the frozen pond. Only this book takes place in the dark of the night, with only the full moon to light the way. Anyone who has ever played the game this way understands what a unique experience this is.

James' brilliant use of colour truly captures the dark and cold so that you can almost see your own breath. Okay, not quite, but it does give you the chills of the black night and really sets the atmosphere for the story itself.

Harbridge's story matches the visual sensations, taking the readers on a nostalgic journey to a simpler time when hockey was beautiful.

Think I'm wrong? Well the people who shortlisted the book for 2017 Governor General's Award for Young People's Literature are on my side.

Killer



Doug Gilmour tells all in his autobiography Killer, as told to Dan Robson. It's a story of the Canadian Dream as the hockey-loving kid makes it all the way to the big leagues. He was one of the premier players in his day, and became near-immortal as the heart and soul of the Toronto Maple Leafs for a short time in the 1990s. He was arguably the best player in the world for some of that stretch.

That Toronto connection instantly puts this book on the best sellers list, as too many of the Maple Leafs books tend to do. The endless line of Leafs fans will enjoy this book, as will many other hockey fans from Gilmour's era. He was a well travelled superstar, extending his fan base.

It's an easy read, with some good stories, but for the most part this is a typical jock-talk book. You'll get some insight into the man himself and some of the events of his career. But for the most part this is another pedestrian addition to the world of hockey literature.

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November 11, 2017

Golden Boys: The Top 50 Manitoba Hockey Players Of All Time

I do have to preface this commentary with the fact that the author of this book, Ty Dilello, and I have become good friends. And he was far too nice to me with his mentions of me in his new book, Golden Boys: The Top 50 Manitoba Hockey Players of All Time.

Young Dilello is a rising young star on the hockey literature scene. When I learned he was undertaking this historical effort, I was excited to see how he tackled it. After all, hockey in Winnipeg and Manitoba goes back a long, long ways. We all know about guys like Jonathan Toews and Ed Belfour And there's no shortage of information on the superstars like Bobby Clarke and Terry Sawchuk, regardless of what era they're from. But how will he get a take on Bones Raleigh or Dan Bain?

The answer is through impressive, unending research. Dilello scoured every source imaginable, be it the written record or, where possible, talking to the player or their families.  He even scoured through military documents. The result is a true understanding that is passed on to the reader in the book.

The other thing that is passed on is the author's passion for the project. Some hockey books can seem tired or forced. Dilello's enthusiasm for the research comes through time and again as you flip the pages of this book.

The book's format is obvious. The top 50 players in Manitoba history are ranked. I won't give away the rankings other than to say that they are both accurate and sure to create debate and dialogue at the same time.

It's a good book regardless if you're from Manitoba or not. You will learn lots about all of the players involved as well about hockey in general.

The book also has this wonderful trailer on Vimeo:

Golden Boys (Trailer) from Ty Dilello on Vimeo.

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November 9, 2017

25 Years of Thunder



TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today their 25th anniversary book titled 25 Years of Thunder officially goes on sale Thursday, October 12. The book will also be available this Sunday at the Lightning's 25th Anniversary Celebration at Expo Hall featuring the 1992-93 team.

Fans can purchase the commemorative book for $35 ($25 for Season Ticket Members at AMALIE Arena) at Tampa Bay Sports at both the AMALIE Arena and International Plaza locations as well as online at www.TampaBaySports.com. Additionally, the Lightning are taking orders for a special, limited edition book signed by Phil Esposito, Dave Andreychuk, Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Brian Bradley, retailing for $125 while supplies last.

The 144-page hardcover book takes fans on a journey through the franchise's 25 seasons in the National Hockey League and features iconic photos from the organization's early days, Stanley Cup run and much more. The preface of the book is written by Lightning founder Phil Esposito and forward by owner Jeff Vinik. 25 Years of Thunder also features articles written by former players including Dave Andreychuk, Vincent Lecavalier and Brian Bradley as well as current captain Steven Stamkos. Other contributors include FOX Sports Sun's Paul Kennedy, LightningInsider.com's Erik Erlendsson and the Lightning's Matt Sammon and Bryan Burns.

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November 6, 2017

Forever Faithful: Celebrating The Greatest Moments of Cornell Hockey



Jim Roberts and Arthur Mintz have put together a beautiful book all faithful Cornell hockey fans - of multiple generations - simply have to have.

In Forever Faithful: Celebrating The Greatest Moments in Cornell Hockey have a stunning tribute to the Big Red. They look at the last 60 years of the hockey team's modern history - both men's and women's - and honour the great teams, many heroes and the wonderful fans.

Roberts and Mintz accomplish this by reliving 24 of the greatest games in Cornell hockey history. That includes the 1967 and 1970 national championships, including the magical 29-0 1970 season. These memories make up the bulk of this 280 page shrine which is loaded with photos.

A big reason for Cornell's success in the late 1960s was due to it's most famous graduate - goaltender (and history student) Ken Dryden. Dryden, a noted author in his own right, wrote the book's foreword. It is beautifully done, and naturally draws all hockey readers who are removed from Cornell. This glimpse into Dryden's life at that time is an excellent read.

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November 2, 2017

Nine Lessons I Learned From My Father




One of the top hockey books of 2017 is Nine Lessons I Learned From My Father by Murray Howe. Yes, Howe. As in Gordie Howe was his father. Murray, a doctor, may not be as well known as his NHL playing brothers Marty and Mark (who came out with his own book, Gordie Howe's Son, in 2013) but he is a gifted writer who, perhaps because he didn't play hockey at a high level, had a special vantage point of Gordie Howe than others did.

I have not read this book yet, but it promises to be, unlike most hockey books, a true gem.

Check out this MacLean's article featuring Wayne Gretzky interviewing Murray Howe. It in itself is a fantastic read. Be sure to watch for the bookstore on shelves this holiday season.

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October 12, 2017

Hockey Then To Wow

Sports Illustrated intended this book to be for kids, but I have to tell you this is a fantastic hockey history book that any hockey fan can enjoy.

In fact, my recurring thought upon the inaugural flip-through was this is the book the Canadian Museum of History or the Hockey Hall of Fame should have put out to promote their exhibits.

Aside from the choice of font and a few of the cartoony graphics, you quickly forget this was supposed to be a kids book. I would say it is an excellent introductory hockey history book for anyone, any age.

The book looks at the greatest players over the years, compares the evolution of the equipment and coaching strategies, and celebrates the records and great moments in hockey history. The women's game, some of the crazy characters over the years, and even the fans get their due, too.

While it is a great introductory hockey history book, even the most seasoned hockey fan will enjoy looking through this wonderfully presented title.

Sports Illustrated also has similar books for baseball and football. It's a safe bet basketball will get it's book next year.

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Fast Ice Superstars of the New NHL by Andrew Podnieks

Andrew Podnieks is back, with an impressive lineup of research and writing help, to give us Fast Ice Superstars of the New NHL.

At first glance I was really excited about this title. Wonderfully presented throughout it's glossy and colourful pages, this book profiles more than 60 of the top young players in the National Hockey League today.

Since I'm known much more for hockey history, I have to admit to not knowing as much about the up and coming stars as I would like. Cam Atkinson was an All Star last season, and I knew nothing of him. Vincent Trochek isn't from Eastern Europe?! Sam Reinhart - now which of Paul Reinhart's kids is this?

And with Lucas Aykroyd, Rob Del Mundo and Carol Schram helping to put these biographies together, I was certain this was my chance to learn some fascinating things about today's young stars just as the 2017-18 season gets underway.

Unfortunately I found the brief biographies to be very pedestrian. Given the talent crew working on this book I hate to say that, and keep re-reading it to see if I'm being too harsh. But the profiles tend to blandly state what each player did each season. So many goals, this many points, while playing for this team that year. A quick glance at the player's stats lines can tell any educated fan this much. But the book fails to tell us more interesting stories that hockeydb.com can not.

Perhaps this book is aimed at younger fans or new fans, and it would make a good Christmas gift for them. But if you are looking for more in depth journalism about today's young players, you will have to look elsewhere.

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October 5, 2017

A Century Of NHL Memories

As the NHL's centennial year is coming to a close, yet another celebratory book is hitting the stores shelves.

This may be the best one yet.

100: A Century of NHL Memories is a beautiful coffee table book full of some of the greatest photographs in the history of hockey.



There are over 150 pages of spectacular photos, both in black and white and in colour, covering the NHL's entire 100 year from 1917 to 2017.

The photos all come from the Hockey Hall of Fame collection, and are simply to be marvelled at. Accompanying the still images are the words of Phil Pritchard and Jim Hynes as they explain the importance of each captured moment. Hockey Hall of Famer Lanny McDonald provides the foreword.

Combined though the lenses of photographers and the words of our authors, the story of the NHL's 100 years is told. Sometimes coffee table books can be flipped through in no time at all, but I was enthralled by this book. It took me days to write this review because every time I picked up the book I would get lost for hours in the imagery and text.

That is the sign of an excellent hockey book.

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S is for the Stanley Cup


Sleeping Bear Press is back with another strong addition to their collection of children's hockey books

Noted hockey author Mike Ulmer has teamed up with the talented illustrator Chris Lyons to give us S is for the Stanley Cup.

Not surprisingly, the book teaches kids the alphabet, with a hockey reference given for each letter. It's a tried and true formula. Sleeping Bear Press has done it before with Z is for Zamboni and H is for Hockey.

This book will keep mom and dad entertained as much as the kids. While the kids are studying the wonderful artwork with dreams of hockey greatness developing somewhere in their heads, mom or dad can read out loud about some of the fascinating stories in the Stanley Cup's 125 year history. I guarantee parents will learn something about the Stanley Cup and hockey history while passing on the love of the game to their children.

There are two things I encourage parents to do it is to instill the love of hockey and the love of reading in their children as early as possible. This book is a great way to accomplish that. It will undoubtedly be a favorite read - for child and parent alike.

The suggested interest level is ages six to nine, while the suggested reading level is grade two.

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Hockey Daze by Rolf Remlinger

You may know of Rolf Remlinger and his hockey comics called Hockey Daze.


Remlinger has been capturing all of hockey's silliness, as he uniquely sees it, with his cartoons for over 25 years now. He has taken some of his favorites and compiled them in his very own book.

The book is well done. It's the kind of book you can read from cover to cover, or just leave on the coffee table and read the odd page from time to time for a good laugh. The cartoons have a certain "Far Side" feel to them.

The key to a collection of hockey comics like this is the cartoons have to a certain timelessness to it. It doesn't matter if it the actual event was from a different generation. Each selected cartoon can resonate with even the most casual of fans.

Because the collection covers so many unique situations over such a long time, it is an interesting form of a hockey history book in itself. 

What makes this more of a book than just a collection of cartoons is that Remlinger does provide background information on each cartoon to provide some real value-added content that fans will appreciate. 

That helps turn this from a collection of favorite cartoons into a true book - a true book that will leave hockey fans chuckling all the way through.

For more information visit Hockey-Daze.com or order the book at Hockey-Daze.com/Book. It's super reasonably priced making this a great Christmas buy for young kids or your beer league buddies.

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September 7, 2017

The Most Anticipated New Hockey Book Of The Season

As hockey books begin hitting store shelves, a common question I've been getting is this:

Which new hockey book are you looking forward to the most?

The answer is unequivocally Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador and the Future of Hockey by Ken Dryden

Earlier this year I wondered what Dryden, hockey's most interesting man, was up to. Then came word of this ever so promising title.

The former Hall of Fame goaltender - recently named as one of the top 100 NHL players of all time - turned author/educator/Toronto Maple Leafs executive/politician has not been heard from a lot since losing his seat and federal cabinet position in 2011. He has been teaching a Canadian Studies course at McGill University in Montreal since.

But he has also been working on the new book about Montador, concussions and the future of hockey.

Dryden, of course, is noted author. He is most famous for his 1983 book The Game, which was both a commercial and especially a critical success. He also wrote Home Game and Faceoff at the Summit, as well as three non-hockey related books.

I have yet to see anything on Game Change, but this could be his most important text to date.

Obviously concussions in hockey are a big deal, and the pending lawsuit by former players threatens to change the way the game is played forever. The thing the powers that be in the hockey world need to realize is if they are not careful the lawmakers will change things instead of the hockey people.

So the hockey people need to be proactive, and Dryden looks like he will lead the way his blue print.

Equipment changes are always possible. Penalties for any direct head shot are to be enforced and strict. The elimination of fighting. These are all likely in the book.

But the ultimate game change will be in the mindset we use to approach physical play. Ultimately that may take a generation or two to achieve.

I do hope that Dryden comments on how to change bodychecking. Before the 1970s bodychecking was always condoned as long as the defending player was attempting to retrieve the puck on the play. Too often since the 1970s bodychecking is used to physically intimidate while removing the player from the puck, but leaving the puck for others to retrieve. Bodychecking should be enforced where the impeding player is still trying to get the puck while making physical contact.

This would allow for a cleaner hockey game to be played, though I do not know if it would have any result on the concussion problem itself. Presumably it would, but people far smarter than I would be able to decipher that.

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September 4, 2017

Book Review: Texas On Ice




Dallas Stars are leading the league as a first class organization in many ways off the ice.

One small example - they are bucking the trend on paperless season tickets. Instead, they pamper their season ticket holders with a box of gifts as well as the traditional tickets.

One of the gifts to surprise their clients this year is the new book Texas On Ice: Pro Strides To The Stars.

The book looks at the history of professional hockey in Texas from 1942 through to 1993 when the Dallas Stars arrived. They thoroughly have it all from the Houston Apollos to the Amarillo Wrangers to the Fort Worth Texans to Gordie Howe's Houston Aeros.

The book is beautifully laid out with amazing action photography, both in color and in black and white. The text compliments the photos nicely with text that recaptures the characters, the rivalries and the Texan hockey heroes of yesterday. A statistical package completes the book perfectly.

The book is a group effort funded by the Dallas Stars, though hockey book fans will recognize the executive director of the project: Jason Farris.


Mr. Farris was a rising hockey author who was funding personal projects that put big publishing houses to absolute shame. Then he disappeared. Sort of. He moved to Dallas in 2012 and became the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the NHL Stars.

I should have been nicer to him when he was just a "nobody" in Vancouver, eh?

How does a hockey book author become EVP and COO of a NHL team? Well in his spare time he graduated from MIT's Sloan School of Management. That was after earning Political Science and Physics degrees here in Canada.

The dude is legit. The Dallas Stars - and the entire NHL - is better off for it.

Where does he find time to produce such a high quality hockey book like Texas On Ice? 

"You can accomplish a lot between the hours of midnight and 4am," he told me. I believe it!

This is actually the second book in the Texas On Ice series. Last year season ticket holders received the book Texas On Ice: Early Strides To Pro Hockey and the 1941-42 American Hockey Association Season.

The audience for this book is a lot more limited. Not a lot of people remember hockey in 1941-42, let alone the AHA which featured the Dallas Texans and the Fort Worth Rangers.

But every hockey fan should see this book, and then demand their favorite teams have such a wonderful remembrance of some significant events of the past. 

Farris' team bring back all the action and the memories exactly as they played out back then - through the clippings of the newspaper. It's such a unique presentation, where basically the past is brought back to life. I seriously love this book!

Relax, you do not have to buy Dallas Stars season tickets in order to get your hands on these books (though if you do after reading this blog, I hope Mr. Farris gives me a jersey or something). You can buy these books at the Dallas Stars team store or online at TexasOnIce.com

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August 31, 2017

2017 Hockey Book Previews

Let's take a sneak peak at some of the 2017 hockey books that are hitting store shelves in the next few weeks:



And that's not even all of the hockey books!

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May 22, 2015

HockeyBookReviews.com Back In Business!


Good news! The popular HockeyBookReviews.com is returning effective September 2017!

Stay tuned for exciting news about the upcoming hockey book season as well as previews and reviews of many books.

If you are an author or publisher who would like to see your work promoted at HockeyBookReviews.com, email me at teamcanada72@gmail.com about how to send me your materials!

I would like to thank the authors, the publishers, the publicists, the booksellers and most importantly the readers. These are challenging times for authors and publishers, but great hockey books continue appear on bookstore shelves and e-readers.

Let's make this a great community for all hockey book enthusiasts.

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April 28, 2015

Reality Check: Travels in the Australian Hockey League by Will Brodie



From the author:Yes, there is ice hockey in Australia. There’s a fragile but thriving national league and my book Reality Check: Travels in the Australian Ice Hockey League chronicles a year in the AIHL, where dedicated locals and adventurous internationals train and play like professionals, but no-one gets paid.

I spent a year visiting the quirky outposts of this unique hockey backwater, making three trips each with arch-rivals Melbourne Mustangs and Melbourne Ice.

Australian ice hockey is intense but informal, exhilarating but irreverent. It thrives on grassroots improvisation yet utilises social media savvy to expand its national audience. In 2014, the passion of this community saw a disbanded team reborn in a week and delivered a dramatic finals series followed like never before.

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April 11, 2015

2014 Hockey Books




All The Way: Jordin Tootoo with Stephen Brunt
Bench Bosses
Boy On Ice: The Life And Death of Derek Boogaard
Changing The Game: A History of NHL Expansion
Chris Chelios: Made In America
Conversations With A Rattlesnake by Theo Fleury
Defining Moments: Toronto Maple Leafs
50 Greatest Detroit Red Wings
Facing Wayne Gretzky
Fuhr: Grant Fuhr with Bruce Dowbiggin
Frozen In Time: History of Minnesota North Stars
The Great Defender by Larry Robinson with Kevin Shea
Hockey Card Stories
Hockey Confidential by Bob McKenzie
Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Trivia by Don Weekes
The Hockey Saint
Ice Storm: Rise And Fall of Vancouver Canucks
It's Our Game by Michael McKinley
The Last Hockey Game by Bruce McDougall
Mr. Hockey: My Story by Gordie Howe
NHL Treasures: Third Edition
Old Timey Hockey Tales
On The Origin Of Hockey
Puckstruck
Save By Roy
Saved! by Clint Malarchuk
Showtime
Straight Up And Personal by Don Cherry
Tales Of A First Round Nothing by Terry Ryan
Teemu
The Ultimate Cookbook for Hockey Families
Warriors On The Ice

Kids Books:
The Boy In Number Four
Calvin the Cookie Maker
Duck With The Puck
Hero's Ho Ho Ho Hockey Dream
Iginla Sparks The Flames
My Granny Loves Hockey
Super Scorers
Great Goalies
Dominant Defensemen

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