October 20, 2014

Changing The Game by Stephen Laroche

Changing the Game: A History of NHL Expansion by Stephen Laroche
Buy The Book: Amazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com

From The Publisher: The complete history of the growth of the National Hockey League. Changing the Game: A History of NHL Expansion by Stephen Laroche celebrates an often-overlooked aspect of hockey history. The book provides comprehensive coverage of the NHL’s spread across the North American market in the 1920s along with the memorable expansions that began in 1967. Relive some great and painful moments from the debut seasons of forgotten teams such as the Montreal Maroons and California Seals along with fan favorites like the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Every first-year NHL roster is covered and nearly 100 players share their memories of playing for hard-luck clubs.

Joe's Note: The book surprised me a bit in that it focuses more on the original expansion rosters rather than the process and story behind the establishing of the franchise and the market. It lacks a true comprehensive history (Laroche gives each team about team about a brief three page summary) but let's not forget the hope and magic of every new sports team lies in the cast of cast-offs who become local legends. Think Michel Briere in Pittsburgh or John Vanbiesbrouck or Scott Mellanby in Florida or Orland Kurtenbach in Vancouver. Stephen Laroche does a real nice job of capsulizing each player's first season, often highlighting a key goal or play in that team's inaugural season. Laroche includes as much commentary as he can from the many interviews with the players as possible, giving this book a real personal connection.

Stephen Laroche (follow him on Twitter) is known as a hockey card expert. He currently is an editor and author of Beckett Hockey magazines (and basketball, too) and previously co-authored the neat book Got 'Em, Got 'Em, Need 'Em: A Fan's Guide to Collecting the Top 100 Sports Cards of All Time with Jon Waldman. Laroche is a skilled writer but also a very interested hockey historian. I hope this book does well and helps him branch out in the hockey writing world. Plus with lots of talk of the NHL expanding by as many as four teams sometime this decade, it is a timely read.


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