August 21, 2009

Warriors of Winter: Rhymes of a Blueliner Balladeer

This is Sheldon Kannegeisser. He was a journeyman defenseman in the 1970s, playing with Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, most notably Los Angeles and then in Vancouver. He was a serviceable defender, eating up minutes reliably and clearing the zone with heady passes and clean plays.

Best known for his alphabet soup surname, Kannegeisser was a bit of a different bird, at least in NHL circles. He was a very devoted Christian. The only thing he read on road trips as much as the bible might have been the Wall Street Journal. He studied economics, but also studied dehydrated foods. He even experimented with hypnotism, claiming the practice increased his peripheral vision.

Kannegeisser retired back in 1978, and has spent the past 30 years or so living in California as an entrepreneur and businnessman, and raising his two sons Brett and Jameson. He also has been working on the motivational speaking circuit.

It was during his guest speaker appearances that Kannegiesser realized just how much people loved to hear stories of hockey in the 1970s. He got the idea of compiling the stories and putting them into a book.

His book is now a reality. Warriors of Winter is a great title, but it is the subtitle that hints at the book's uniqueness: Rhymes of a Blueliner Balladeer. Kannegeisser took the time to take his stories and write them as poems.

Hockey stories are perennial," Kannegiesser said in a recent interview with the North Bay Nugget. And every hockey player you talk to has 10 or 20 hilarious stories. I found I could take those and put them to rhyme and rhythm. The key thing about the majority of these stories is they're all true. And I just made them fun."

Kannegiesser writes about many topics, from hockey fights to life on the road, to his personal relationships with the likes of Bobby Orr, Tim Horton, Gordie Howe and Dave 'Tiger' Williams. He event revisits the 1972 Summit Series with 8 poems, one devoted to each game.

The book has just been published but is not available in bookstores. It can be purchased online at, as well as at book signings and speaking engagements. A sample chapter about Tim Horton, titled Donuts, is available at the North Bay Nugget website.


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