Boy On Ice: The Life And Death Of Derek Boogaard
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Joe's Take - This is just a fantastic read. John Branch brilliantly tells the story of a shy, unsure prairie boy who doubles as the National Hockey League's scariest monster. While everyone loves "The Boogeyman" he struggles trying to balance everyone's expectations and his own simple wants in life.
Boogaard desperately trying to salvage what he can from the great Canadian hockey dream, while fighting the many monsters he endures while he tries to be what everyone wants from him - the NHL's toughest fighter. Unfortunately the monsters he faces are not so much the puck punchers on other teams, but the disturbing physical and mental toll he pays for doing it. It leads to a painkiller addiction that claims his life way too soon.
It's heartbreaking tale that really will make you think twice about those NHL tough guys we cheer as if they are just superheroes and super-villains. Behind "The Boogeyman" is a simple boy trapped in a monster's body. He is a boy with a dream, but he pays the ultimate price. I can not recommend this gripping book enough.
From The Publisher: The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter's heartbreaking account of the life and shocking death of the toughest man in hockey.
Boy on Ice is New York Times reporter John Branch's chronicle of Boogaard's tragic life and death. A human story in the tradition of Friday Night Lights and The Blind Side, it's a book that raises deep and disturbing questions about the systemic brutality of contact sports-from peewees to professionals-and damage that reaches far beyond the game. Derek Boogaard was a mountain of a man who lived an almost mythic sports story: from pond-hockey on the prairies of Saskatchewan to a first NHL contract in Minnesota, to the storied New York Rangers as the most-feared enforcer in the league. A gentle young man, he was a brutal fighter on ice skates, capable of delivering career-ending punches and intimidating entire teams. But at twenty-eight, his death from an overdose of painkillers in the wake of a series of concussions helped shatter the silence about violence in professional sports.
Boy on Ice is a heart-rending, riveting inside look at the life of an enforcer, a book that, unlike any other, reveals in dynamic fashion the rules on the ice, where reputations are won and careers can depend on a single punch. In the case of Derek Boogaard, his final battle, with prescription medication, cost him his life.