October 10, 2009

Hockey Dad by Bob McKenzie

Bob McKenzie has put out his first book: Hockey Dad: True Confessions From a (Crazy) Hockey Parent.

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

I am not sure what I think is the biggest surprise about the project - the fact that McKenzie has not written a book before, or the content of his first compilation.

McKenzie, TSN's Blackberry loving hockey expert, has an extensive history in written word. After all, he was a long time newspaper reporter and was the long time editor of The Hockey News. Given his amazing connections within the game (managers, agents, owners, players, heck probably even the towel boys and ice girls), he has the insights to write an amazing tell all book.

But that certainly is not the subject of his first book. No, instead McKenzie autobiographically talks about his life as a hockey dad and minor hockey coach.

You see McKenzie's oldest son, Michael, is now playing in US college while his other son, Shawn, was forced out of the game at age 14 due to concussions. McKenzie may be a popular TV and print personality, but first and foremost he is a hockey dad.

The book is a refreshing change. The self-deprecating McKenzie offers a humorous and an open and candid look of youth hockey and hockey parents. It's not Jack Falla-great, but it surprisingly good.

Through an insightful and very personal vantage point, McKenzie offers a compelling look into the world of minor hockey. While there is lots of talk about Michael and Shawn, the book really is about Bob McKenzie, and by association hockey dads and sports parents in general.

When not poking fun at himself or the lighter side of youth hockey, McKenzie does weigh in on numerous hockey and parenting issues with his own reflections. He is not preachy about it, more or less just stating what he's learned. In doing so the reader will undoubtedly recognize someone, quite possibly themselves, in these incidents.

In doing so, the book works well. If you are a hockey dad or mom, or even a parent with a different sport, you will find yourself in some similar pitfalls. If it gets parents thinking about their conduct at the rink, the kids will be winners.

Many people would look forward to a book by Bob McKenzie. Hockey Dad is not the book people have been waiting for, but it is an interesting, often funny offering with no shortage of praise:

“And people think I’m crazy? This guy is the definition of crazy.”
- John Tortorella, Head Coach, New York Rangers

“A must-read for all parents of athletes, not just hockey parents.”
- Brian Burke, Toronto Maple Leafs’ President and General Manager

“As a fan of the game, and as a parent, you will get an inside view of minor hockey, junior hockey, college hockey and, of course, the professional game. Bob has put into words the good times and the tough times for a parent raising two young hockey players. This is one hockey book you shouldn’t miss. You will learn a lot and it is a good, fun read.”
- Wayne Gretzky

I'd highly recommend this book for the hockey dad on your Christmas list.


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