Hockey History Books

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Stoneberg, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. JMCx4

    JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

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    Last night I finished reading The Greatest Game I Ever Played: 40 Epic Tales of Hockey Brilliance, a collection of short profiles published in 2016 and written by staff members of The Hockey News & several freelance sports writers. My wife bought the book for me as a Christmas present, not long after I had dismissed it during an on-line searches for new-to-me hockey titles. I'm glad she knows my tastes in reading better than I do, because this turned out to be a great little read. Each story is a one-to-three page retrospective on a special moment in the career of a well-known hockey player, covering personal memories from the Olympics & juniors & college & minor pro & NHL games for both men and women in the game. Not much detail in any one of the stories, but more importantly not much fluff either. The individual authors (and the book's editor, I'm sure) get right to the point, and each does a very good job of capturing the excitement & drama of the moments described. Easy & fun to read, just the way I like 'em.
     
  2. coatjones

    coatjones Debauchery #1

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    Just finished When the Rangers Were Young by Frank Boucher. I'm sure it's been discussed in here, but it's an AWESOME flash back to the original era of the club. It's a shame that the book can be so hard to find these days. I'm really hoping that Boucher and company gets their due at the 100th anniversary.
     
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  3. JMCx4

    JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

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    So I guess everybody's too busy watching hockey to have time to read about it? o_O
     
  4. Chili

    Chili Registered User

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    Was reading some books on WWI last fall including 'Victory at Vimy' (which I recommend) and that book mentioned Conn Smythe's close call during the battle.

    So I picked up a copy of 'If you can't beat 'em in the alley - The memoirs of the late Conn Smythe'.

    Great read about his hockey and military careers, a lot of early NHL history references including the famous Shore/Bailey incident. Smythe had a number of close calls in his lifetime, especially during his military tours in both World Wars. He became a pilot later in WWI, would be shot down and became a prisoner of war later escaping before being recaptured. He was seriously wounded in WWII, injuries that effected the rest of his life.

    I don't believe he is listed as such but he was actually the first gm of the Rangers. He assembled most of the team that would win the Cup in it's second season. He got into a dispute with the owner about acquiring a player (Babe Dye) and was replaced by Lester Patrick before the Rangers played their first game. He goes on to tell the stories of buying into the Saint Patricks which he renamed the Maple Leafs after gaining control of the team. A lot of stories in there about the early days of the Leafs teams and players.

    Very interesting read.
     
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  5. JMCx4

    JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

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    I finally finished reading Gerald Eskanazi's A Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Hockey. The first half of the book was tough to get through, with the author emphasizing his "Thinking Man" theme by means of flowery verbiage to describe very mundane facts & figures & aspects of the game from player positions to hockey operations to game officials roles. But once I got to Chapter 5 (of 7), the insights into daily routines and early expansion and social/psychological influences on NHL hockey made the read much easier & more enjoyable. Being written in the era of the first two NHL expansions (published in 1972), the book comes off with a decided quaintness for the modern reader - if hockey can be described as "quaint" under any circumstances. But if you can get through the first several chapters of material that has been covered in dozens of other hockey books cited in this thread, you should encounter some fascinating glimpses of how the people & situations of the pre-expansion era have affected today's game.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
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  6. Habsfan18

    Habsfan18 Collector/Historical Research

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    Some new books hitting the market this fall..

    Most Valuable: How Sidney Crosby Became the Best Player in Hockey’s Greatest Era and Changed the Game Forever (by Gare Joyce)

    Nicklas Lidstrom: The Pursuit of Perfection (by Gunnar Nordstrom & Bob Duff)

    Relentless: My Life in Hockey and the Power of Perseverance (Bryan Berard autobiography with Jim Lang)

    Eddie Olczyk: Beating the Odds in Hockey and in Life (Ed Olczyk autobiography with Perry Lefko)

    The Grim Reaper: The Life and Career of a Reluctant Warrior (Stu Grimson autobiography)

    No Days Off: My Life with Type 1 Diabetes and Journey to the NHL (Max Domi autobiography)
     
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  7. JMCx4

    JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

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    Well, I read enough of Stephen Smith's Puckstruck: Distracted, Delighted and Distressed by Canada's Hockey Obsession to wish I hadn't left it in the seat back pocket on my LGA-to-Halifax flight two weeks ago. :( When I purchased the book last year, I was expecting yet another compendium of stories laced with Canadian regrets & inferiority complexes. So I was pleasantly surprised by Mr. Smith's approach to weaving history & honor & sportsmanship & profiles of players and games into a very readable book. I was especially looking forward to reviewing his ending list of reference materials to guide my future hockey book purchasing decisions. Now all I've got left is the book jacket (left at home to prevent tearing in transport), and a goal to find a paperback copy so I can finish the other ≈60% of the book. Maybe a hockey fan/Delta passenger or YHZ airplane clean-up crew member will send me their review. :help:
     
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  8. JMCx4

    JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

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    I finished reading two more hockey books on Friday, very different but in some ways the same. The first title was Bob Plager's Tales from the Blues Bench, co-authored by St. Louis Blues' hockey legend Bobby Plager and St. Louis-based sportswriter Tom Wheatley. Since I grew up following & loving hockey in St. Louis, the simple first-person stories recounted in this book felt very familiar to me. Bobby is an emotional guy and those emotions - positive and negative - translate well in his writing. This title would be more suited to & probably more appreciated by a Blues fan, but any long-time hockey lover would find the history & attitudes familiar and entertaining.

    The second title was written from a child's point of view and marketed accordingly, but I found it very enjoyable even as an aging adult. Paul Harbridge's When The Moon Comes is brilliantly illustrated by Matt James, and the story & art work combine to capture many of the hockey-related emotions that I can remember as a kid playing the game on frozen lakes & ponds. The book seemed to be a thematic extension of Roch Carrier's The Hockey Sweater, addressing the same sorts of childhood dreams but without the disappointments. I'd recommend this short but entertaining read to any hockey fan who misses the thrill of a cold winter wind on their face as they skate on moonlit ice. "Climate change" and age change have made those special times harder to recreate for many of us.

    ETA: I just realized that I've now reached my 100 hockey books read milestone. Onward to 200.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  9. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    A good opportunity to thank you for your reviews here. Keep it up!
     
  10. Pominville Knows

    Pominville Knows Gameplanhockey(DOT)com, no pay-to-play!

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    So can anyone brief me about the real old books, like Frank Bouchers mentioned above? If would probably make for a great read when the whole story will be wrapped in i guess up to a hundred year old wordings and associations etc.
     
  11. Muuri

    Muuri Registered User

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    Any good books on Canada vs. Soviet Union hockey rivalry?
     
  12. Habsfan18

    Habsfan18 Collector/Historical Research

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    Many books were published on the Summit Series in particular (probably 30+) but there have been a few on the Canada-Soviet rivalry as a whole if that’s more what you’re looking for.

    The Red Machine (Lawrence Martin) - this is one of the best hockey books ever written. It’s not necessarily a book specifically focused on the rivalry with Canada, but it’s the best book out there from the Russian hockey history point of view. It’s a must read.

    War On Ice (Scott Young)

    Epic Confrontation: Canada vs Russia On Ice (Greg Franke)
     
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  13. Habsfan18

    Habsfan18 Collector/Historical Research

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  14. JMCx4

    JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

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    I just completed Bernie Federko's My Blues Note. Same general topic as Bob Plager's book, though in overlapping playing eras, but with a decidedly different tone. It feels odd saying that Bernie's autobiography seemed very self-centered to me, but that was the primary impression I came away with from the book. He expressed a lot more negative emotions about his relationships with former teammates & management & employers than I ever expected, while taking every opportunity to toot his own horn. Not at all what I expected from the persona that he displayed publicly as I watched him play and saw him/heard him broadcast in St. Louis as I followed the St. Louis Blues over the last 40+ years. But it was an easy book to read, and has quite a few unique personal anecdotes that I think long-time Blues fans would enjoy.
     
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