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05-26-2005, 07:36 AM
  #1
kmad
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The Hockey Literature Thread

At break at work, I've recently been reading Dick Irvin Jr's book "26 Stanley Cups - Memories of a Hockey Life" which is basically a compilation of short stories he tells about growing up in a hockey family and being at games and his interactions with hockey players from back then. He puts in a good case for Terry Sawchuk as the greatest goalie of all time.

Tis a good read. I'm only about 1/5 in. I got it for $4 in the bargain bin at Cole's.

Any other good reads out there?

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05-26-2005, 09:12 AM
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All of Irvin's books give you a pretty good look at NHL history, at least the history he's seen. Personally, I think Dryden's The Game is easily the best look at life as a hockey player and what it meant to be part of a great team. Some find Dryden a bit verbose,which he is, but he can write,you won't see a ghost writer's name on a Dryden book. After The Applause is pretty good,Robinson for the Defense was good. Frank Orr wrote a hockey novel,'Puck is a four letter word' that I enjoyed. Kind of like North Dallas Forty except about hockey.

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05-26-2005, 11:15 AM
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The best hockey books that I have read in the last couple of years are:

Thunder and Lightning - Phil Esposito's autobiography. GREAT read, couldn't put the thing down. Phil had a very interesting hockey career and he tells the story very well.

Fun While it Lasted - Bruce McNall's autobiography. GREAT read, couldn't put the thing down. Very interesting for much more than his LA Kings ownership. His rise to fame and fortune and subsequent fall are fascinating.

I HIGHLY recommend both books.


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05-26-2005, 11:24 AM
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For me The Game was the best one.

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05-26-2005, 12:36 PM
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Lots of good discussion about this in this thread: http://www.hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=104861

The Game is still the best hockey book IMO, and I also second the recommendation of Espo's book. Some of his stories are wild! I wish he'd elaborated more on the behind-the-scenes stuff with the Lightning, god knows there was enough stuff going on to fill another book.

If you're interested in non-NHL books, I finally got around to reading The Tropic of Hockey by Dave Bidini. Fascinating, well-written, and pretty funny at times. Seeing how hockey has caught on in far flung corners of the world was great. The passion of some of the players and fans was amazing.

Let me once again plug They Don't Play Hockey in Heaven by Ken Baker. Starts out somewhat slow, but it really sucks you in as you wait to see if the author gets to live his dream.

I just read a novel that's kind of off-beat, but was a very interesting hockey read: Finnie Walsh by Steven Galloway. Mostly a straightforward hockey and friendship story, with a few quirky twists thrown in. Don't believe the lukewarm professional reviews on that page, it was good, I'm still thinking about it a few weeks after I finished it.

Obviously one of my favorite topics.

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05-26-2005, 12:51 PM
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I just started reading Tropic of Hockey, so far it's excellent.
Why Is the Stanley Cup in Mario Lemieux's Swimming Pool is a quick, fun read on the history of the Cup an some of it's adventures.

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05-26-2005, 12:55 PM
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Lions in Winter by Chris Goyens is a very good overview of the Canadiens history right up to the Cup win in 86. Some very good behind-the-scenes stuff.

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05-26-2005, 04:08 PM
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The Tropic of Hockey is just a brilliant book. The Game and Thunder and Lightning are also great books, I just packed my collection of hockey books but the one I'm currently reading is '67 all about the fall of the Maple Leaf empire, so far its excellent.

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05-26-2005, 04:14 PM
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Does anyone know of a good history of international hockey. Preferably something that includes the very eraly era of the game (even so far back as the turn of the century.)

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05-26-2005, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hasbro
Does anyone know of a good history of international hockey. Preferably something that includes the very eraly era of the game (even so far back as the turn of the century.)
I'd like to do some reading up on the Czechoslovak game at the mid century.

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05-27-2005, 06:36 AM
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12# Peter Bondra
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmad
I'd like to do some reading up on the Czechoslovak game at the mid century.
Dzurilla has a book but I think it was only published in Slovak so you wont get it in CAN.

Its basically about his career, which was in the 60's and 70's.

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Old
05-27-2005, 09:21 AM
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You know I work at a university library that predates the first recorded hockey game played in this state at least. I'll try and find something there.

Our online catalouge yeilded 104 results under the subject and our periodicals would probably be even better.


Last edited by Hasbro: 05-27-2005 at 09:29 AM.
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05-27-2005, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hasbro
Does anyone know of a good history of international hockey. Preferably something that includes the very eraly era of the game (even so far back as the turn of the century.)
Not really, but "Kings of the ice"-book has some player profiles from earlier years (like Josef Malecek), plus many more from later years. There's a Russian-language late 1990's book "Hockey encyclopedia" of their hockey history, I bet there are some Swedish books as well. They have international tournaments squads + other info available online (in Swedish), I think.

I'm not sure how much info there is before they started the organised international games/tournaments in Europe in the 1910's, this page has some info (in french), game results from earlier years + rosters & stats from the past couple of decades.http://www.hockeyarchives.info

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05-27-2005, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmad
I'd like to do some reading up on the Czechoslovak game at the mid century.
See my post above, that Kings -book has profiles from mid-century Czech players like Zabrodsky, Konopasek, Bubnik etc.

You could check this CzechPoint -site for more names (it has Czech squads from international tournaments):

http://user.tninet.se/~gwa036b/

If you can read Czech, I'm sure you can find some hockey books of their hockey history. In English, well, I'm not so sure, maybe you could e-mail some Czech contributors of e.g. Total hockey -books.


Last edited by gary69: 05-27-2005 at 11:23 AM.
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Old
05-27-2005, 11:25 AM
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Might be a worth while area for my graduate work.

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05-27-2005, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary69
Not really, but "Kings of the ice"-book has some player profiles from earlier years (like Josef Malecek), plus many more from later years. There's a Russian-language late 1990's book "Hockey encyclopedia" of their hockey history, I bet there are some Swedish books as well. They have international tournaments squads + other info available online (in Swedish), I think.

I'm not sure how much info there is before they started the organised international games/tournaments in Europe in the 1910's, this page has some info (in french), game results from earlier years + rosters & stats from the past couple of decades.http://www.hockeyarchives.info
I read a few pages from "Kings of the Ice" everyday. Amazing book!

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05-27-2005, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmad
At break at work, I've recently been reading Dick Irvin Jr's book "26 Stanley Cups - Memories of a Hockey Life" which is basically a compilation of short stories he tells about growing up in a hockey family and being at games and his interactions with hockey players from back then. He puts in a good case for Terry Sawchuk as the greatest goalie of all time.

Tis a good read. I'm only about 1/5 in. I got it for $4 in the bargain bin at Cole's.

Any other good reads out there?
How about Body Check?
After all, you haven't read about hockey until you've read *hockey romance*. Perfect for your summer list!

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...040699-5511836

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05-27-2005, 05:31 PM
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Espo

I thought that Espo's book was a fantastic read - although some of his Bruin teammates don't agree. One problem with the book was that it had a lot of factual errors, including talking about a players on teams that weren't there at those times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
The best hockey books that I have read in the last couple of years are:

Thunder and Lightning - Phil Esposito's autobiography. GREAT read, couldn't put the thing down. Phil had a very interesting hockey career and he tells the story very well.

Fun While it Lasted - Bruce McNall's autobiography. GREAT read, couldn't put the thing down. Very interesting for much more than his LA Kings ownership. His rise to fame and fortune and subsequent fall are fascinating.

I HIGHLY recommend both books.

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05-27-2005, 05:32 PM
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This book isn't really hockey literature, but a few years ago Pat LaFontaine wrote a book called Companions in Courage: Triumphant Tales of Heroic Athletes. It's really a compilation of inspirational stories of several athletes (weekend, amateur pro) who have overcome adversity and challenges.

On a more light-hearted note, Lloyd Freeberg was an on-ice NHL official at the Pond for several years and wrote In the Bin: Reckless and Rude Stories from the Penalty Boxes of the NHL. He had a particularly funny story about Bob Probert, while in the bin, trying to smuggle six pucks from the Ducks inaugural home game versus the Red Wings and the consequences of Freeberg's suggestion to Probert of where Probert could stuff the pucks.

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05-27-2005, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClassicHockey
I thought that Espo's book was a fantastic read - although some of his Bruin teammates don't agree. One problem with the book was that it had a lot of factual errors, including talking about a players on teams that weren't there at those times.

LOL. I guess Phil's memory is going a little now that he is in his 60s.

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05-27-2005, 07:03 PM
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Esposito

Yes, it makes you wonder if some of his stories in the book really happened the way he said they did. I know of one Bruin who is mad at Espo for the things he wrote and another Bruin who is afraid to even read the book.

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06-03-2005, 08:24 PM
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I'm speechless..

excerpt from the Dick Irvin book

I was just casually reading this on my work break, and I stumbled upon this bit of trivia. IT BLEW MY MIND. I couldn't comprehend what I had read for a good hour.

"Finley set himself up as a one-man executive branch of the Seals. The league didn't approve and told him he had to have others in place, like a vice-president, or a board of directors. Finley got his shoes shined by a little kid who had set up shop on the street in downtown Oakland. When the league got after him about his lack of executive help, Finley hired the shoe-shine kid and listed him as the Seals' vice-president.

*turn page*

The kid went on to fame and fortune as rap singer MC Hammer."



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06-03-2005, 09:16 PM
  #23
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I really enjoyed Espo's autobiography. It was great to hear about all the adventures he and his teammates went through, and his commentary on the '72 Series was chilling.

----

Has anybody read "The Physics of Hockey" by Alain Hache? I tracked down a copy today and it's quite fascinating. I don't know much about physics but the way he anaylzes shooting, skating, checking and goaltending is very interesting (particularly the last topic).

One interesting excerpt from the book: on average, winless streaks are shorter than we would expect them to be (if winless streaks were purely random). Hache hypothesizes that this might be because players try harder in the midst of losing steaks, and snap out of them earlier than they "should". Sounds plausible.

Even if you don't like physics it's a great, informative book. Worth looking for.

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06-03-2005, 10:29 PM
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Anything I've read on 72 is a classic. The greatest, most intense series in the history of hockey.

Reading Roger Neilson's bio now. Not the greatest read ever, but definitely an interesting look into hockey's greatest innovator and one of the most intriguing characters ever.

Espo is the type of guy who would write a great autobio. Sort of like Jeremy Roenick: says what's on his mind. Espo is one of the top 10-15 players in the history of the game, and the best leader of the last 40 years.

Dick Irvin has so many great stories to tell. One of the great broadcasters ever. "The Game" is still considered by many to be the best hockey book ever.

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06-03-2005, 10:34 PM
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I can't believe it's been two threads and no one's mentioned George Plimption's "Open Net." Terrific "participatory journalism" novel that details Plimpton's stay with the 1970 Bruins as a training camp goalie. Pretty quick read and humorous, with an obvious appreciation for the players and the game.

Also, there's a relatively new book called "Zamboni Rodeo" by a guy I can't recall. The author traveled with the Fort Worth Brahams (then WPHL, now CHL) team for a year in the late 1990s and paints a vivid picture of the lower minor leagues in hockey.

I loved Brett Hull's book, but (disclaimer) I bought it as a 13-year-old fan girl who had just watched him win a Cup in Dallas. It's not a literary masterpiece, but it's a quick, fun read.

And it's not all about hockey, but Travis Roy's book "Eleven Seconds" is also a good read. Roy broke his neck 11 seconds into his NCAA career with Boston University, and wrote this book about 5 years after the accident.

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