November 1, 2014

The Last Hockey Game by Bruce McDougall

The Last Hockey Game
Buy The Book: - Chapters -

From The Publisher: On May 2, 1967, Montreal and Toronto faced each other in a battle for hockey supremacy. This was only the fifth time the teams had ever played each other in the Stanley Cup finals. Toronto led the series 3-2.

But this wasn't simply a game. From the moment Foster Hewitt announced "Hello Canada and hockey fans in the United States," the game became a turning point in sports history. That night, the Leafs would win the Cup. The next season, the National Hockey League would expand to twelve teams. Players would form an association to begin collective bargaining. Hockey would become big business. The NHL of the "Original Six" would be a thing of the past.

It was The Last Hockey Game.

Placing us in the announcers' booth, in the seats of excited fans, and in the skates of the players, Bruce McDougall scores with a spectacular account of every facet of that final fateful match. As we meet players such as Gump Worsley, Tim Horton, Terry Sawchuk, and Eddie Shack, as well as coaches, owners, and fans, The Last Hockey Game becomes more than a story of a game. It also becomes an elegy, a lament for an age when, for all its many problems, the game was played for the love of it.

Joe's Note: Ripe with description that brings many of hockey's characters from the past back to life, McDougall's book The Last Hockey Game is an interesting look at how hockey has changed through the lens of just one hockey game - the final game of the 1967 Stanley Cup final.

It's an interesting undertaking by McDougall. This book, which is in part play-by-play of one game but in part a history of an era gone by and a study of the after-effects to this day, feels more like a baseball book. That is a huge compliment. Everyone knows baseball is blessed with great literature. Hockey books get a bad knock, but there certainly is a gap in the number of quality books out there. Bruce McDougall closes that gap a little bit with The Last Game.


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