Tyler Hellard was interviewed for The Athletic about his award-nominated hockey novel, Searching for Terry Punchout. Read the interview here (with subscription). We’ve included a short excerpt below.
Grab your own copy of Searching for Terry Punchout during our Flash Sale! We’re selling the book from our website for just $10 (and the ebook for $5). That’s 50% off the cover price! (We hit publish on this fast so we couldn’t change our minds!)
Sale ends Thursday, July 16, at 11:59 PM ET.
Searching for Terry Punchout was shortlisted for the 2019 Amazon Canada First Novel Award and the 2019 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.
Excerpt from “Tyler Hellard Q&A: Goons and goalies, novel-writing and small-town P.E.I.” at The Athletic:
[Searching for Terry Punchout] was always going to be the small-town thing because that’s what I know. […] 14 wasn’t good to me — and I sort of blamed where I was from for that. Which wasn’t fair. So the book was kind of me working through that.
Making it a hockey thing was…growing up in a small town, how many of those old hockey players you would run into. It wasn’t just Gerard Gallant running his hockey schools and bringing guys in. Dave Cameron was coaching the junior team (Summerside Western Capitals) when he was between being NHL-player Dave Cameron and NHL-coach Dave Cameron, which is when I first met him. I was the mascot for a couple of years when I was young. (Laughs) Yeah, I put on the bear costume for two years. And I would play the music between plays. I did that for a couple of years, too.
[…] And when I was playing peewee, I played with Errol Thompson’s son. So when we’d go on road trips, Errol Thompson would be the guy driving the car. I think he was a Labatt sales rep at that point. It was always interesting that these guys who played in the NHL…from small-town P.E.I., they were kicking around everywhere. And not what you’d expect. They were coaching junior, selling beer, that sort of thing. It was an odd mix.
So when I decided to write about the small towns, the hockey hook came from growing up and having these guys around all the time. There’s sort of a mythology of hockey in P.E.I. […] We always talk about the Gretzkys and whatever. We don’t talk about the thousands and thousands of other athletes who play a handful of seasons and disappear.
Tyler Hellard grew up in Prince Edward Island, graduated from St. Francis Xavier University and now lives in Calgary with his wife and kids. His non-fiction has appeared in THIS Magazine, The Walrus, and on CBC Radio. Before finally quitting hockey at 18, he was pretty bad at it. He’s currently at work on a book of wrestling essays, forthcoming from Invisible Publishing.