For the Love of Hockey

Melissa HanschellCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2008

By Melissa Hashemian

What hockey was, how it was played, and why it turned into the great sport it is today. There are numerous questions one can ask about the nature of the game, as well as the factors that caused an immense drift in the rules, economy, and most importantly, the game.

Canadian author and broadcaster Steve Paikin, paints an articulate representation of the growth instilled in the exciting game in his book, The New Game: How Hockey Saved Itself.

I was lucky enough to read the book and all it has to offer about the “true taste of the game,” given by Paikin himself. The hockey bible I like to call it. Each chapter discusses something new, and perhaps even things readers did not know about hockey.

For starters, it gives an in-depth look at the reasons for the post-lockout NHL in 2004, and the individuals who participated in it. The lockout is the dominant topic discussed, which clearly happened to play a crucial role in the shaping of the new game.

There happens to be a chapter devoted to star forward Brendan Shanahan’s assistance during the lockout season, in helping reawaken the sport from the dead.

Though Paikin gives a concrete description of the game, I could not help but notice many of the controversies and critiques he mentions concerning the changes made. These changes however, were said to be beneficial by some, while challenging to adjust to by others.

Conceivably starting from the introduction of the diminutive equipment to the fact that smaller players in the league were acquiring the opportunity to play pro; no matter what it was, it was evident that the sport was altering the way it did things.

I found the discussion about the creation of shootouts to be most intriguing. They were to be used if opposing teams were unable to score in the span of a five minute overtime.

This concept is an exciting and notorious subject in the book because it shows that many players and coaches were either in favour of the new rule or opposed to it.

As New Jersey Devil veteran Kevin Weekes liked to put it, “Pretty way to win, tough way to lose.”

Now I could spend hours explaining details about Paikin’s ability to get a vast pile of information on such a detailed game in such limited space.

There is too much to converse about, believe me, but I'd rather explain what I found to be inspiring about it instead.

Nowadays, many youngsters are attempting to get in either sports broadcasting or journalism. I personally found this book as a motivation device in pursuing the goal, no matter what aspect of sports it is in, especially for the fact that Paikin himself was a student at the University of Toronto.

Steve Paikin truly opened my eyes to the world of journalism and what it has to offer a person; stresses on the many aspects of the career, and how interviewing hockey players is one of the best and advantageous experiences.

“Every single journalist I have talked to agrees: the best athletes to interview are hockey players…the players are less rushed, inclined to be more laid-back, and expansive after practices,” Paikin states.

Paikin packs the pages with words filled with enthusiasm and excitement, particularly in the last sections of his book titled “What I Love About This Game” and “Broadcasting,” which are the predominant chapters where one can see his vivid interest and love for the game.

It is through his encounters with the players, coaches, and general managers where we gain a deeper insight into the wonderful world of hockey. Who knew that a hockey and broadcasting sandwich could be such a delectable one!