Hockey Books All NHL Fans Should Read
When watching highlights of your favorite team on You Tube gets old and there hasn't been any news on your favorite team in what seems like weeks, you may think you are out of ways to satisfy your hockey craving.
If you go on Amazon.com or head down to your local Barnes and Noble, you will find a cure from all the withdrawal: books about hockey.
What could be a better way to pass away the days until the season and keep yourself occupied than a good hockey book?
Now, I'm not here to tell you to pick up something along the lines of "So You Want To Play in the NHL?" (unless that is your goal, of course). But there is no short list of choices on books about your favorite players and teams, or even books on hockey history.
So if you're looking something to add to your book shelf, here are some hockey books that I have read and think you will enjoy.
By the way, if you want to tell me about your favorite hockey reads, please let me know in the comments. I am always on the hunt for the next great hockey book to keep me occupied.
A Season Of Loss, a Lifetime Of Forgiveness
Full title: "A Season of Loss, a Lifetime of Forgiveness: The Dan Snyder and Dany Heatley Story"
Author: John Manasso
In the fall of 2003, Dany Heatley and Dan Snyder were two of the best young players on the Atlanta Thrashers. But in a week in September 2003, all of that changed.
Heatley was driving Snyder home from a gathering the two were at, and his Ferrari was going well over the speed limit. Heatley lost control of the car, and both him and Snyder were thrown from the car. Heatley suffered extensive injuries that kept him out of the 2003-2004 season until January 2004, but Snyder died six days later.
Manasso wrote this book to take readers inside how much Heatley's life changed after. After he described the accident scene and the conditions of both players, he went into detail about the charges and consequences Heatley was facing as well as the problems he dealt with in his professional life.
However, the book is more than that. It also talks about what Dan Snyder's parents go through after losing their son. Instead of holding a grudge against Heatley, Snyder's family focused on the positive. They used their strong religious faith to forgive Heatley and support him during his court trials rather than calling him names and blaming him for Dan's death.
Three out of five stars.
The story of Snyder's family and Heatley doing everything he can to move on is a touching one.
However, when Manasso went into the Snyders' religious background, I temporarily lost interest in the story. The explanation of the Mennonite religion seemed to go on longer than necessary, and I would've preferred some of the space be used to go into further into the aftermath of the accident and any long-term consequences Heatley faced.
Brodeur: Beyond The Crease
Authors: Martin Brodeur and Damien Cox (photos by Denis Brodeur)
Although I am a Penguins fan, Martin Brodeur is one of my favorite players. When I saw this book in Barnes and Noble, I was eager to read it.
This book takes us through Martin Brodeur's NHL career. It was published in September 2007, so the content in the book comes before Brodeur's officially broke the NHL shutouts record and even before the opening of the Prudential Center.
If you want to get this book, you will read about all three of Marty's Stanley Cup wins with the Devils (1995, 2000, and 2003). He even takes you in to the locker room with him before a game. You'll read about what he does to mentally and physically prepare himself for a game, right down to the order in which he puts on his equipment.
One of the interesting parts of the book describes Brodeur's decision to let go of his agent and represent himself. It is an admirable, yet difficult, choice by an NHL player, and Brodeur describes the pros and cons of his decision.
Finally, there are some goodies for hockey history buffs. There is some background on Denis Brodeur's hockey career and his accomplishments. Denis, Martin's father, also provided some photographs for the book.
From learning about the way the game has changed over the years to following Brodeur's career all the way to the modern era, there is something in here for everyone.
Author: Shawna Richer
Shawna Richer, a sports reporter from Toronto, moves to Pittsburgh for the 2005-2006 NHL season to follow Sidney Crosby during his first year in a Penguins uniform.
The 2005-2006 season was the first year the NHL returned to play following a lockout that cancelled the entire 2004-2005 season. With it came new rules and a talented class of rookies, and Richer was there for all of it.
She documents every milestone of Crosby's first season, including his first professional goal during Pittsburgh's home opener against the Boston Bruins, and his 100th point at the end of the season. After each game, she talks to Crosby about his thoughts on what the team could have done better or what was spot on for the Pens.
Some of the moments really show Crosby's dedication to winning and being there for his teammates. For example, he plays in an 8-1 loss against the New York Rangers while fighting a sore throat that is so severe he can barely talk. He also runs up and down the arena steps after another particularly rough game.
The Penguins of 2005-2006 struggled greatly, so there are a lot of down moments discussed. Richer takes us into the firing of then-head coach Eddie Olczyk and the promotion of Michel Therrien. We also learn about how Crosby is perceived by opposing fans and players around the league.
Five stars. This is a must read for any Penguins fan, and it is great to see how far Pittsburgh has come after being the laughingstock of the NHL such a short time ago.
On a slightly humorous note, I suggest this book to anyone who thinks Crosby is a whiner. It will hopefully change your impression on who he really is.
Herb Brooks: The Inside Story of a Hockey Mastermind
Author: John Gilbert
Gilbert, a sportswriter for the Minnesota Tribune, tells the story of Herb Brooks' illustrious coaching career in this book.
Gilbert and Brooks first formed a relationship when Gilbert covered the University of Minnesota Gophers hockey team that Brooks coached during the 70s. From behind the scenes action in the locker room between periods to the atmosphere at a college hockey game, Gilbert starts off the first few chapters of the book by recalling the ups and downs of Brooks' time with the Gophers.
Of course, there is no way you can write a book about Brooks with talking about the Miracle on Ice. Gilbert tells us about what Brooks went through to pick his team and how he got them ready to take on the mighty USSR team at the Lake Placid Olympics. This part is especially interesting, because Gilbert even discusses differences between the movie "Miracle" and how things played out in reality.
Although many don't think about Brooks' coaching career after the Olympics, it is also a part of this book. Gilbert tells stories about Brooks' stints with the New York Rangers, the Minnesota North Stars, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. He also went overseas to coach for a brief period of team and again coached the U.S. Olympic Team in the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Four out of five stars.
Before I read this book, I knew almost nothing about Brooks' career before the 1980 Olympics. I enjoyed the stories about Brooks coaching in the NCAA and the NHL.
Needless to say, this is a must read for every hockey fan.
"Then Wayne Said to Mario..."
Author: Kevin Allen
The Stanley Cup.
It is hockey's most prized possession and is possibly the greatest trophy in sports history.
This book is filled with over 50 years of stories about the Stanley Cup. You will get hooked from the beginning when the foreword talks about what it means to players to win the Cup.
Dallas Drake of the Detroit Red Wings felt his legs turn to Jello when he finally lifted the Cup in 2008.
Teemu Selanne, who had been in the NHL for over 10 years when he won the Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, cried on the bench when Anaheim defeated the Ottawa Senators to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Ray Bourque's teammates and Colorado Avalanche fans devoted the entire 2001 playoff campaign to winning a cup for the veteran defenseman who had not yet won a Cup in his career.
These are just some of the stories you will read about in this book.
You will also read about the places the Cup has been over the years, a great time for anyone who was drawn into a story such as Patrick Kane taking the Cup to Niagara Falls.
There is a lot of hockey history to absorb. Back in the mid 20th century, players did not have a day with the Cup as they do today. You will get to find out what players did with the Cup back in those days, and there is still no shortage of fascinating stories to tell. You will even learn about the first time a winning team took the Cup around the ice and even let fans touch it.
There are also some great stories about the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, and New York Islanders dynasties.
This book covers each Stanley Cup win up until 2009, when the Penguins captured their first title in 17 years.
Simply put, if you are an NHL fan and want to curl up with a good book, buy this one.
I can't think of another book that is as essential to a hockey fan's bookshelf as "Then Wayne Said to Mario..."