Off the Shelf: Books for the hockey lover in your life

Hockey books feed the enormous appetite for just about anything related to our national winter sport.

Adam Proteau's book

Hockey books hold a special place in Canadian publishing. Year after year a new selection of titles appears, feeding the enormous appetite for just about anything related to our national winter sport.

Over the past decade, about 40 to 50 hockey titles have been published in Canada each year, with the majority appearing in the fall, targeted to holiday shoppers.

Here is a selection of titles receiving the most attention this season:

–– Cornered:  Hijinks, Highlights, Late Nights and Insights by Ron MacLean and Kirstie McLellan Day.

Described as the holy grail of hockey books, this memoir by Don Cherry’s Hockey Night in Canada sidekick is full of inside accounts—some inspiring, many hilarious—from his early days as a part-time radio announcer and weather forecaster in Red Deer, Alberta, to his time hosting HNIC and the Olympics.

–– The Lives of Conn SmytheFrom the Battlefield to Maple Leaf Gardens:  A Hockey Icon’s Story by Kelly McParland.  Hot-tempered, outspoken and controversial, Smythe not only constructed a dominant hockey team, but was critical to the growth and shaping of the NHL itself.

By building Maple Leaf Gardens and hiring Foster Hewitt to fill Canada’s living rooms with weekly broadcasts, he turned Saturday night into hockey night, an institution that remains with us today.

Smythe’s story is much richer than the tale of a cantankerous hockey owner however. He fought in both world wars, fighting at Ypres and Passchendaele in the first war and landing at Normandy in the second. He was wounded in both and spent two years as a POW in a German camp after being shot down in 1917.

–– Georges LaraqueThe Story of the NHL’s Unlikeliest Tough Guy by Georges Laraque.

Known as one of the game’s toughest enforcers, off the ice Laraque was engaged in battles of a different sort.

This memoir describes his role fighting racism in Quebec’s minor leagues, as a committed vegan and PETA spokesperson, and as deputy leader of the Green Party.

–– Hockey Hall of Fame Treasures, edited by Steve Cameron.

This lavish, fully illustrated coffee-table book, published in partnership with the Hockey Hall of Fame, unearths a trove of the most interesting, unique, famous and rare artifacts from the museum’s archives.

If a trip to the hall in Toronto is not in your future, this book is the next best thing.

–– Fighting the Good FightWhy On-ice Violence is Killing Hockey by Adam Proteau.

Veteran sports writer Proteau (The Hockey News) tackles the timely subject of violence in hockey, arguing that its transformation into a thuggish blood sport is ruining the game.

With the link between head shots and depression under media scrutiny, the book is sure to be a conversation-starter.

–– The Devil and Bobby Hull: How Hockey’s Original Million-Dollar Man Became the Game’s Lost Legend by Gare Joyce.

In his prime, few could dispute Hull’s athletic brilliance—the first to have five 50-goal seasons, the highest scorer on the 1976 Canada Cup team, the first to use the slapshot as a scoring weapon, and the first hockey player to sign a million-dollar contract.

But with his publicized marital troubles and his defection from the NHL to the WHA, Hull’s star began to fall, leaving him broke and in exile from the game. Joyce’s book finally gives this once great hockey player and pioneer his due.

–– Based on a recent column in Quill & Quire.

–– Maureen Curry is the chief librarian at the Vernon branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.


Just Posted

Business savy volunteers sought in North Okanagan

Community Futures looking for members to join advisory panel, board and loans committee

New Vernon resident building skills and community

The Respect Works Here November Multicultural Community Champion

Handwritten notes from ‘Sean’ not a scam or illegal

Notes appearing in mailboxes across Vernon and Shuswap a marketing ploy

Vernon-based Tolko shuts BC divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

SilverStar to open Nordic trails this weekend

25 km of groomed trails are ready to explore by cross-country skiers

VIDEO: Kelowna brew pub opens new tasting room

Dan Taylor takes a tour of BNA’s renovated tasting room

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Malakwa woman still in the running for winning American baking show

Janet Letendre is the only Canadian competing on the Holiday Baking Championship

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Salmon Arm businesses tipped off to Black Press advantage

Black Press Media hosts day of presentations for local business representatives

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

UBC conference draws fire over speaker from Chinese tech company blacklisted in U.S.

The company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. over links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority

Most Read