Hockey book season is upon us
The number of hockey books published every fall suggests that hockey fans are also avid readers. Here are five top scorers from this year’s starting lineup.
Bobby: My Story in Pictures, Bobby Orr, Viking
In Orr: My Story, published by Viking in 2013, Bobby Orr told the story of his life on the ice from his earliest days in Parry Sound, Ont. Those were his words. The new book is his pictures. It has the intimate feel of a family album – a record of family events, memorable moments in hockey and, most endearingly, ordinary snapshots that are perhaps the truest images of all. Orr writes that, “when I look at all these photos, I don’t see a list of personal achievements. Rather, I see something I shared with other people.” This is a handsome book that is destined to find its way beneath a lot of Canadian evergreens this season.
Cujo: The Untold Story of My Life On and Off the Ice, Curtis Joseph with Kirstie McLellan Day, HarperCollins
Here’s Curtis (Cujo) Joseph summing up his childhood: “I had a weird life. Two moms, three dads and I grew up in a home full of mentally ill patients run by a crazy person.” That this legendary goalie could rise above his Dickensian beginnings is a tribute to his drive, talent and innate optimism. In addition to revealing his “secret” history, Cujo is an lively trip through a glistening 19-year career – playing with six NHL teams and winning Olympic gold in 2002 with the Canadian team. For his memoir, Joseph teamed with hockey’s go-to biographer, Kirstie McLellan Day, who has co-authored bios with Wayne Gretzky, Theo Fleury and others.
Don Cherry’s Hockey Greats & More, Don Cherry, Doubleday Canada
Don Cherry’s first hockey book, in 1982, pictured him on the cover with Blue, his English bull terrier. His new book is his sixth, and it, too, features a front-page image of Grapes and the incumbent Blue. What that proves is that (a) Cherry has been opinionating on the subject of hockey a long time and (b) he figures out what works and sticks to it. Hockey Greats & More cleaves to the format that’s worked in the past, lively chapters offering his take on hockey greats (Scotty Bowman, Bobby Hull and more) and friends (Gord Downie), plus his unvarnished views on the issues of the day (fighting; Hall of Fame omissions; and baseball, his second-favourite sport).
Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom, Angie Abdou, ECW
Angie Abdou’s son, Ollie, has been on the ice since the age of 4 (his idea), had his first altercation with a coach at age 6 and despite his mom’s exhortations to always “Have fun! Try hard!” by 10 (when this book was written) had known both the fun and the abject disappointments that ice demands. This immersive memoir brings together the personal and a good dollop of research in sports psychology. Abdou writes with uncommon frankness about the raw moments of hockey momdom and her personal life (she was going through an itchy period in her marriage). Plus, she’s thought hard about what it means to be an athlete: She grew up in Moose Jaw, Sask., home of the WHL Warriors (and for a time, pederast coach Graham James and his young victim, Theo Fleury). She was a competitive swimmer, her brother a wrestler.
Hockey 365: Daily Stories From the Ice, Mike Commito, Dundurn
Does it ever seem as if the hockey season is getting longer and longer – indeed lasting just about the entire year? Sports historian Mike Commito proves that’s no illusion in this day-by-day book of hockey highlights, an event for every single day of the year, even midsummer: Did you know that July 27, 1988, marks the death of Frank Zamboni, inventor of the ice-resurfacing machine? Commito has even included a memory for leap years, and it’s a good one: on Feb. 29, 1980, Gordie Howe scored his 800th NHL career goal, the first player to do so (Wayne Gretzky is the second member of the 800-goal club).