Whether it’s because hockey is Canada’s national obsession or because we’ve just published a debut novel about small-town hockey life that iBooks reviewed as one of their favourite titles of the season – “definitely deserves a few stick taps” – but we’ve got the game on our minds! Here are some recent books about the game that dominates our psyche, for readers of all ages and interests.
Puckstruck: Distracted, Delighted and Distressed by Canada’s Hockey Obsession by Stephen Smith (Greystone Books)
Longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize, in Puckstruck, Stephen Smith chronicles his wide-eyed and sometimes wincing wander through hockey’s literature, language, and history, to ask if hockey is the best of us, is it also the worst?
Lucy Tries Hockey by Lisa Bowes, illustrated by James Hearne (Orca Book Publishers)
Lucy thinks learning how to play hockey looks like fun, but it may too challenging. With the support of her parents and an encouraging instructor, Lucy enrolls in a hockey clinic where she learns new skills and has fun on the ice! Part of The Lucy Tries Sports series.
Hockey Fight in Canada by David Shoalts (Douglas & McIntyre)
This is the story of how the CBC lost Hockey Night in Canada and how Rogers’s big win went wrong: controversial choices in a host, Canadian NHL teams missing the playoffs, ratings drops, and changes in viewing habits. Hockey Fight in Canada details every fascinating play in this intersection of sports and business.
Born Into It: A Fan’s Life by Jay Baruchel (HarperCollins)
Montreal Canadiens superfan Jay Baruchel loves the Habs, no matter what. In Born Into It is a collection of hilarious, heartfelt and nostalgic stories that draw on Jay’s childhood experiences as a homer in Montreal and as the enemy living in the Maple Leaf stronghold of Oshawa, Ontario.
Searching for Terry Punchout by Tyler Hellard (Invisible Publishing)
Aspiring sports journalist Adam Macallister begrudgingly returns home to Nova Scotia for the sake of a story about a legendary hockey enforcer – Terry Punchout – who happens to be Adam’s estranged dad. Adam faces family and friends for the first time in a decade in this charming tale of hockey, small-town Maritime life, and how, despite our best efforts, nothing can save us from becoming our parents.
Young Leafs: The Making of a New Hockey History by Gare Joyce (Simon & Schuster)
After years of fan disappointment, Toronto Maple Leafs’ management took on the bold goal of reshaping the team, and it appeared to pay off when Auston Matthews became the first player in history to score four goals in his NHL debut. Young Leafs follows the team through that season along with the arrival of other new players tasked with carrying the hopes of a city on their young shoulders.
How We Did It: The Subban Plan for Success in Hockey, School and Life by Karl Subban and Scott Colby (Penguin Random House)
Karl Subban is a father of five, three who were drafted to the NHL and two who became teachers. From house league to the big leagues, How We Did It is about growing the potential in every child, told through a mix of personal stories and goal-setting lessons Subban picked up in his many years as a school principal, educator and coach.
Hockey Dreams: Memories of a Man Who Couldn’t Play (Penguin Modern Classics Edition) by David Adams Richards (Anchor Canada)
Displaying Adams Richards’ gift for character and dialogue, Hockey Dreams is part memoir, part hockey history, a lyrical narrative that is ultimately an essay on national identity and how Canadians have claimed the game of hockey as their own.
Amazing Hockey Stories: Hayley Wickenheiser by Lorna Schultz Nicholson (Scholastic Canada)
Told in full-color comic book illustration, this is the tale of one of Canada’s greatest hockey players of all time, Hayley Wickenheiser, from her beginnings in Saskatchewan, where she played on the boys’ teams, to the record for most points scored in Olympic history and five medals.
A Century of NHL® Memories: Rare Photos from the Hockey Hall of Fame by Jim Hynes (Griffintown Media)
In the hockey universe, the single-most important repository of memories is the Hockey Hall of Fame, many of which have never been published or seen. A Century of NHL® Memories celebrates the league’s centennial by throwing open the doors to the Hall of Fame’s photo archives and unveiling some of these treasures.
Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems by Randall Maggs (Brick Books)
The narrative long poem Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems follows the tragic life of Terry Sawchuk, a driven goalie who survived twenty seasons in an era of inadequate upper-body equipment and no player representation. These poems range from meditations on heroism to dramatic capsules of actual games, depicting key moments in the career of Terry Sawchuk, his exploits and his agony.
Black Ice: The Val James Story by Val James and John Gallagher (ECW Press)
Shedding light on racism in hockey, Black Ice tells the story of Val James who endured and overcame discrimination to become the first Black American to play in the NHL, in 1982 with the Buffalo Sabres and in 1987 with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Hockey: Challenging Canada’s Game – Au-delà du sport national edited by Jenny Ellison and Jennifer Anderson (University of Ottawa Press)
For many Canadians, hockey is the game. While the relationship between hockey and national identity has been studied, where does the game fit into our understanding of multiple, diverse Canadian identities today? This interdisciplinary book considers hockey, both as professional and amateur sport, and both in historical and contemporary context, in relation to larger themes in Canadian Studies, including gender, race/ethnicity, ability, sexuality and geography. Contributors to this book reflect upon all aspects of hockey in Canadian life: play, fandom, sports broadcasting, and community activism.