October 18, 2009

From The Broadcast Booth by Brian McFarlane

The hockey history community, make the hockey community in it's entirety, owes Brian McFarlane a great debt of gratitude. Few people have done as much for hockey history than he has.

Nearly 80 years old, McFarlane has put in a life time (actually 50 years) of broadcasting hockey, most famously with Hockey Night in Canada and with NBC, where he was famous for Peter Puck. He has also been prolific in print, writing over 50 hockey books.

Sometimes his books tend to be repetitive in terms of content and stories. That is fine, as it keeps hockey history alive to new audiences every few years. But if you're a long time reader like me, perhaps you lose a bit of appreciation over the years.

My favorite Brian McFarlane book was by far 2001's Brian McFarlane's World of Hockey. He was open and a great story teller in the surprisingly entertaining book all about himself. It was more autobiographical, sharing his own life on the ice, in the broadcast booth, and away from the rink. I was instantly a Brian McFarlane fan again. Did you know his dad was the original Hardy Boys writer?

So when I received word that McFarlane would be releasing From the Broadcast Booth: A Career in the World of Network Hockey in 2009, my hopes were high that we would get another gem from the legend.

Buy The Book - Amazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com

The book is not quite like his World of Hockey release. Instead of a true autobiographical format, this new book reads like your sitting down with him having a few pops while he tells one great story after another.

They are not always his stories, either. He often solicits the voice of former players, coaches and broadcasters for their input. The result is a real jewel for hockey history fans, as we get a lot of newly told, first hand accounts of some of the great but long gone names in hockey.

It's kind of "Strange But True Hockey Stories" meets "World of Hockey" - great hockey stories told with more of a personal touch. It works well, although it was still not a book that I could just sit down and read from cover to cover. It's still more of a typical McFarlane book where you can pick it up, read a few passages, be entertained and learn something fascinating about the game we all love.

Also check out Brian McFarlane's own website - It Happened In Hockey.com.


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