January 26, 2024

Hockey Book Review: Hockey Night Fever by Stephen Cole

Stephen Cole's "Hockey Night Fever: Mullets, Mayhem, and the Game's Coming of Age in the 1970s" is a nostalgic journey through one of hockey's most iconic eras. With meticulous research and engaging prose, Cole paints a vivid portrait of the sport during a decade that saw it rise to prominence on both sides of the border.

Set against the backdrop of the 1970s, a decade marked by cultural upheaval and societal change, "Hockey Night Fever" captures the essence of an era defined by mullets, mayhem, and the emergence of hockey as a national obsession. From the dynastic dominance of the Montreal Canadiens to the rough-and-tumble style of the Broad Street Bullies, Cole chronicles the triumphs and tribulations of the teams and players who shaped the game's identity during this transformative period.

One of the book's most compelling aspects is its exploration of the cultural significance of hockey in Canada and the United States. Cole deftly examines how the sport became intertwined with national identity, serving as a symbol of pride and unity for fans on both sides of the border. Through a combination of archival footage, interviews, and firsthand accounts, he illustrates how hockey transcended the confines of the rink, becoming a cultural phenomenon that captured the hearts and imaginations of millions.

Moreover, "Hockey Night Fever" offers a nuanced analysis of the key personalities that defined the era. From the enigmatic brilliance of Bobby Orr to the fiery intensity of Bobby Clarke, Cole delves into the lives and careers of hockey's most iconic figures, providing readers with a behind-the-scenes look at the men behind the myth. Through anecdotes and anecdotes, he brings these larger-than-life characters to life, shedding light on the triumphs, struggles, and moments of glory that defined their careers.

Cole's prose is engaging and accessible, making "Hockey Night Fever" a compelling read for both die-hard fans and casual enthusiasts alike. His writing is infused with a palpable sense of passion and reverence for the sport, transporting readers back in time to an era when hockey was more than just a game—it was a way of life.

However, despite its many strengths, "Hockey Night Fever" is not without its flaws. At times, the narrative can feel disjointed, with abrupt transitions between topics and themes. Additionally, while Cole's focus on the NHL provides valuable insights into the professional game, it comes at the expense of other aspects of hockey culture, such as grassroots development and amateur leagues, which played a significant role in shaping the sport during the 1970s.

In conclusion, "Hockey Night Fever" is a captivating exploration of one of hockey's most storied decades. Stephen Cole's meticulous research, engaging prose, and deep appreciation for the sport make this book a must-read for anyone interested in the history of hockey. Whether you're a longtime fan or simply someone curious about the game's past, "Hockey Night Fever" offers a compelling glimpse into a bygone era when hockey reigned supreme and the world watched in awe. 


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