November 27, 2009

2009 Hockey Book Of The Year

It should come as no surprise that the 2009 Hockey Book Of The Year is Theoren Fleury's tell-all autobiography Playing With Fire.

Buy The Book: - Chapters -

Tell-all is right. Fleury talks about all of his demons - the drugs, the alcohol, the gambling, the promiscuity - and finally reveals the sad truth behind it all. He was sexually abused by infamous junior coach Graham James.

In a weak year for hockey books, nothing really came close to Fleury's book. It has been a Canadian best seller for weeks, drawing the most attention from media across North America. No book rivaled that attention.

Fleury has won over fans all around the world, which was not easy given he was one of the most hated hockey players of his era. He has earned everyone's respect for the bravery he has shown with this book, and with the progress he has made in his life. Once again we are all cheering for the little underdog in the biggest fight in his life.

Co-author Kirstie McLellan Day deserves full credit for her role writing the book, keep the darkness of Fleury's life very evident in the pages of this book. Her expert touch gives the reader an idea of the emotion and anger of Fleury's life.

Other Nominees

In deciding the 2009 Hockey Book of The Year I shortlisted the following four titles:

Gretzky's Tears: Hockey, Canada and The Day Everything Changed by Stephen Brunt. Canada's leading sports columnist gives us a detailed look back at the Wayne Gretzky trade then and now. In addition to giving us a fascinating behind the scenes look at the mechanics of the trade, Brunt gives us an interesting look at the key players, perhaps even changing the reader's paradigms concerning Gretzky and Pocklington.

Buy The Book: - Chapters -

Hockey Dad: True Confessions From a (Crazy) Hockey Parent By Bob McKenzie - This was not the hockey book everyone was expecting from the hockey insider Bob McKenzie when he finally got around to writing a book. Instead of a book about the inside dealings of the NHL, he talks about his private life as a hockey dad and minor hockey coach. In doing so he comes across as the most likeable character of the 2009 hockey book season.

Buy The Book - - Chapters -

Jacques Plante: The Man Who Changed The Face Of Hockey by Todd Denault. The best 2009 biography was an easy choice, as Todd Denault's amazing research and eloquent writing gave us an amazing look at one of hockey's most important - and most misunderstood - figures in goaltender Jacques Plante. Denault provides the ultimate text on Plante, while he secures the commentary of the likes of Jean Beliveau and Henri Richard to bring him back to life.

Buy The Book: - Chapters -

Warriors of Winter by Sheldon Kannegeisser - This book is essentially the autobiography of former NHL journeyman Sheldon Kannegeisser, or as he refers to himself as, the Blueline Balladeer. That's because this book is an interesting collection of poetry that weaves together to form the story of one life in hockey. Kannegeisser has a pretty limited audience and small distribution, but he also has the most innovative project of 2009.

Buy The Book:

The hockey book class of 2009 has something for everyone, including books on the upcoming Olympics and hockey books for kids. Here is the full listing of 2009 Hockey Books. Click on the links for my full book reviews. Also be sure to check for the 2009 paperback and re-releases list.


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