You do not have to dig too deeply into hockey's rich history to realize the impact the community of Kirkland Lake/Timmins has had on hockey.
Dozens of players went on to the NHL and Stanley Cup greatness. Countless more are still legends in the area known as The Mile of Gold, as well as around the world.
Many Kirkland Lake players made big impacts playing in the senior leagues, especially back in the 1950s and 1960s when, with only 6 NHL teams, the Allan Cup championships really were special. There was even three local legends of the 1958 World Championship team.
But it quickly becomes evident that Kirkland Lake's hockey history is so rich and so expansive that you might need the whole Joe Mavrinac Community Complex to house it all.
Buell breaks the book down into three "periods." The first is called "For The Love Of The Game" and looks at hockey's intertwined importance in the community's life. The second is called "Order From Chaos" and looks chronologically at some of the great local teams and tournaments in the city's lore. The third period is called "Exodus" and looks at the players who moved on to the pros - Ted Lindsay, Gus Mortson, Dick Duff, Bill Durnan, the Plager brothers, Dick and Mickey Redmond, Ralph Backstrom, and Darren Puppa to name a few.
Unlike a lot of books about a small town's hockey history, this book really can appeal to a large cross section of hockey fans. Obviously the amazing multi-generational alumni list helps there. But also the writing about hockey's importance in the community is so good that everyone can not only enjoy it but probably bring back memories of their own youth and their own community, too.
But the best part about this book is that, like legendary author Michael McKinley, Buell understands that the story of any community is very much a story about it's people. You will love the reading the biographies of NHL greats and local legends alike - be it the Plager brothers of NHL fame or the Viskovich brothers of local lore.
Somewhat surprisingly, I found myself really enjoying this book. After cracking the spine I was unable to put it down for a long time and then I kept coming back to it for more. I only have one question for Mr. Buell - when is volume two coming out? (Good news - volume 2 is due out in the autumn of 2010!)
Want a copy? If you're not in town, then you have two online options to order a copy:
Contact Hockey Heritage North at www.hockeyheritagenorth.ca
Or contact Frosted Forest Publishing at: