September 7, 2008

Open Ice by Jack Falla

Though you are never supposed to judge a book this way, the first thing that really jumps out about the late Jack Falla's Open Ice: Reflections and Confessions of a Hockey Lifer is the beautiful color. No hockey fan can resist the nostalgic cover of vast, smooth ice disturbed only by the skate marks of a young hockey player. The ice is a brilliant blue, seemingly endless as it matches the cloudless winter sky.

| Also See: Interview With The Late Jack Falla |

The cover is enough to warrant at least picking up the book off the store shelf and flipping through a few pages. After reading just a few passages it is quickly apparent that the true beauty of this book is the author's natural gift of literary genius.

Jack Falla covered the National Hockey League for Sports Illustrated in the 1980s before become a professor of sports journalism at his Alma mater, Boston University. He has also found time to author six hockey books, most notably the highly acclaimed Home Ice: Reflections on Backyard Rinks and Frozen Ponds.

Falla returns to the successful formula of collecting essays and personal memories in Open Ice: Reflections and Confessions of a Hockey Lifer. Falla refers to the book, again published by Wiley, not as Home Ice's sequel but it's companion volume.

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Open Ice is a collection of heartwarming and witty essays about hockey. The brilliance of the book is the author's effortless ability to make each individual essay flow from one into another. He accomplishes this using highly personal and reflective look back at hockey and of life.

Each essay is part of the author's personal journey. Through his collection of hockey essays Falla is very open in engaging the reader in his struggles and dislike of aging.

The book captures the reader early with the opening chapter about the death of Rocket Richard, the perfect launching point for the author's reflections on getting older. He deals with this like so many others by trying to recapture a bit of his youth by skating on Ottawa's Rideau Canal and by taking his grandson to his first Boston Bruins' game. He reminisces about the good old days of the Original Six and of a chance encounter with Alex Delvecchio and of course of back yard rinks. Along the way we learn a lot about Falla, Richard, Delvecchio, Jean Beliveau, Georges Vezina and Hobey Baker, amongst others.

Everyone's favorite chapter will likely be "Short Shifting in Fantasy Land," where the author declares his unhealthy addiction to his hockey pool, as he hilariously finds himself contemplating his fantasy hockey team while sitting in the Sistine Chapel!

But the most important thing we learn about is life. Through Falla's journey we learn that the key to learning about life and about ourselves is "not by looking back but by looking within."

This is a fantastic book folks! I highly recommend it.

Buy The Book - Amazon - Chapters


Kent Morgan September 17, 2008 at 3:48 PM  

Did you know that Falla passed away suddenly the other day? His Home Ice is one of my all-time favourite hokcey books.

Kent Morgan September 17, 2008 at 3:49 PM  

Did you know that Falla passed away suddenly the other day? His Home Ice is one of my all-time favourite hockey books.

Scotty Hockey January 13, 2009 at 10:27 PM  

I was finally able to get some time to read this and I have to add my voice to the ringing endorsements. Stellar writing by a pro, with added poignancy from his recent passing. Great, great book.

Anonymous,  May 7, 2009 at 6:55 PM  

i love this book and it really inspired me.

Anonymous,  May 7, 2009 at 6:56 PM  

i love this book i could really conect with it. go hockey

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