Hundreds of folks started their Christmas shopping at Chapters in Pointe-Claire this afternoon, picking up Our Game - The History of Hockey in Canada.
For 2 1/2 hours author, Dave Stubbs and 88-year-old Hall of Famer, Elmer Lach chatted, posed for pictures and signed copies of the book for young readers. No down time or lulls during the event at all so I had to wait until the end to chat with them.
Have leafed through the book since bringing it home and recommend it highly. The kind of volume that every elementary school library ought to have. Lot of info in easily digestible bites for shorter attention spans. Hits all the high points, examining the game decade by decade. A lot of great photos in there too, many I've never seen before. Several of them are from the private collections of ex-NHLers.
Stubbs is my favorite Gazette writer. Don't read his stuff about turning left all afternoon but love his hockey history features. Cross paths with him regularly at oldster-related hockey events and have found him to be a very personable pleasant fellow.
At 25 dollars for the hardcover and about half that for the softcover edition it makes a wonderful gift for the young sports fan. French translation is on the way. Should be available from Amazon.
He's around, perhaps not in an official capacity, but any time there's a team golf event, he's there. Never misses the Toe Blake Tournament. Also turns up for a few games every year. Saw him at the premiere of the Maurice Richard film last season.
While Lach's voice is a lot softer than it used to be, his handshake is as strong as ever. He had a great time, especially with the kids. Grinning and making faces at them when the younger ones were too shy to say anything to him.
Can still draw a crowd a half-century after hanging them up. A lotta grandparents picking up multiple copies to make sure the young generation grows up with the proper Canadian values.
I had a great time talking to a fellow from Lasalle who had a ancient scrapbook and a couple old Forum Magazines from the 1940s under his arm.
Last winter, I was trying to get my Father out of the house for something other than medical appointments and I brought him to see some friends' youngsters play hockey. This family stopped in for a drink at Christmas and the youngest, the 9 year old, went to wish the old man a Merry Christmas.
Dad told him how much he enjoyed his game, and that he reminded him of a young Elmer Lach.
The poor kid seemed a bit confused, and later I told my Father that the kid had no way of knowing who Lach was. 'Dad he retired in the early 50's . Laughlin just turned 9.'