March 9, 2008

Five Most Important Hockey Books Of All Time

A reader asked me recently to name the top 5 hockey books of all time. Here's my response, ranked in order of importance according only to me.

Our Life With The Rocket: The Maurice Richard Story by Roch Carrier. This book is neither a biography nor a memoir of Quebec's greatest hockey player. No, in fact it is in many ways a thoroughly researched and infectiously proud all grown up version of The Hockey Sweater. It's about what it was like to be French Canadian at a time when the Rocket was hockey's most dynamic player.

Game Misconduct: Alan Eagleson and the Corruption of Hockey by Russ Conway. Investigative reporting by small-town sports editor Russ Conway brought down hockey's most powerful man, Alan Eagleson. The author's legwork uncovered how Eagleson, working as both an agent and as head of the players' union, cheated players out of a small fortune.

The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier. Carrier's most famous story is about a young boy who orders a Montreal Canadiens sweater from the Eaton's catalogue, but receives a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey instead. Brilliantly capturing the cultural tensions between English and French Canada, it is considered to be one of the most important works of Canadian literature ever written.

The Game by Ken Dryden. The enduring classic, Dryden's incredible memoir are brilliantly captures what it is like to be a NHLer, including everything from fame and glory to failure and disillusionment.

The Hockey Handbook by Lloyd Percival. Simply put this has to be the most important hockey book of all time. The Russians treated Dr. Percival's original text as the bible, and used it to transform the game into that we know today.


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