May 25, 2007

Long Shot: How the Winnipeg Falcons Won the First Olympic Hockey Gold by Eric Zweig

The improbable story of Frank Fredrickson and his childhood friends probably could not be made up by the best of fiction writers.

And that's the best part - the story of the Winnipeg Falcons is completely true. And it is all captured in Long Shot: How the Winnipeg Falcons won the first Olympic hockey goldby Eric Zweig.

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The sons of Icelandic immigrants and friends since boyhood, the Winnipeg Falcons were a superbly talented hockey team of just eight players who brought home Canada's first Olympic gold medal in hockey in 1920. But before they became world champions, the Falcons endured years of prejudice on and off the ice, and several close calls during combat service in World War I. And don't forget life-long infatuations with violins and aviation!

This is the real life story of an underdog hockey team that would not quit and became world champions. It is written by author and renowned hockey historian Eric Zweig.

The book is the quickest of reads, at just 112 tiny pages. It should be noted that Long Shot is classified as juvenile non-fiction. It is a great introduction to the fantastic story, even if you're an adult. But if you're looking for a deeper connection with the characters and events, you will have to look elsewhere.

But make no mistake, this book is thorough. The author even writes "It took me 15 days to write this book . . . but 15 years to do the research."

The tiny book does include 9 black and white photographs, all of which are very interesting. I especially enjoy the photo of the 1920 Swiss Olympic team, with the goaltender wearing the shirt and tie!


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