Hockey fans come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing that unites them all is a love of the game. From the thrill of the action on the ice to the strategies and tactics that go into every play, hockey is a sport that captures the hearts and minds of millions of people worldwide. If you’re a fan of hockey, reading books about the sport is a great way to deepen your appreciation and knowledge. There are many great hockey books out there, covering topics ranging from the history of the sport to biographies of legendary players to fictional stories set in the world of hockey. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best hockey books to read now, organized by category.
The History of Hockey in Literature
Before there were hockey books, there was hockey in literature. From the earliest days of organized hockey, writers have been fascinated by the sport and its players, and have chronicled their stories in books and other forms of writing.
One of the reasons hockey has been so popular in literature is because of the unique nature of the sport. Unlike other sports, hockey is played on ice, which adds an entirely different dimension to the game. The speed and skill required to play hockey at a high level is truly impressive, and writers have been captivated by the athleticism and grace of the players.
Early Hockey Books and Memoirs
One of the earliest hockey books of note was “The Hockey Handbook” by Lloyd Percival, first published in 1951. This comprehensive guide to the sport covered everything from basic rules to advanced strategies, and was considered essential reading for players and coaches alike. Memoirs of early hockey players, such as “Memoirs of a Hockey Nobody” by Gerry Cosby, offer a window into the sport in its earliest days, and showcase the passion and dedication of the players who helped shape the game we know today.
Another early hockey book that deserves mention is “Hockey: Canada’s Royal Winter Game” by James Duplacey and Eric Zweig. This book is a comprehensive history of hockey in Canada, from its origins to the modern game. It includes profiles of some of the game’s greatest players, as well as stories of legendary games and moments in hockey history.
The Evolution of Hockey Writing
As the sport of hockey evolved, so too did the writing about it. In the 1960s and 1970s, books such as “The Game” by Ken Dryden offered a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a professional hockey player, while “Hockey Night in Canada” by Scott Young chronicled the history of the iconic television show. In recent years, writers like Michael McKinley and Todd Denault have delved deep into the archives of hockey history to uncover stories of the game’s forgotten heroes and legends.
One of the most interesting recent books about hockey is “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown. This book tells the story of the University of Washington’s rowing team, which won the gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. While not strictly about hockey, the book captures the same spirit of teamwork, perseverance, and dedication that is so essential to success in any sport, including hockey.
Overall, the history of hockey in literature is rich and varied, and offers something for everyone, from die-hard fans to casual readers. Whether you’re interested in the technical aspects of the game, the personal stories of players, or the larger cultural significance of hockey, there’s a book out there for you.
Biographies and Autobiographies of Hockey Legends
For many hockey fans, the stories of the sport’s greatest players are the most compelling of all. Biographies and autobiographies of hockey legends offer a chance to get to know these larger-than-life figures on a deeper level, and to understand the forces that drove them to greatness.
Wayne Gretzky: The Great One
No player in the history of hockey is more famous or beloved than Wayne Gretzky. In “99: Stories of the Game,” Gretzky shares some of his favorite memories from his storied career, while in “The Great One” by Mike Leonetti, fans can delve deeper into his life and career, learning about his rise to fame and his impact on the sport.
Wayne Gretzky’s impact on hockey cannot be overstated. He is widely regarded as the greatest player in the history of the sport, and his records and achievements speak for themselves. But what made Gretzky truly special was not just his skill and talent, but his work ethic and dedication. Gretzky was known for his relentless pursuit of excellence, both on and off the ice. He was always looking for ways to improve his game, and he never stopped pushing himself to be better.
Off the ice, Gretzky was equally dedicated to his family and his community. He was a role model and an inspiration to countless fans, and his impact on the sport of hockey will be felt for generations to come.
Bobby Orr: The Life and Times of a Hockey Icon
Another legendary player whose life and career have been chronicled in books is Bobby Orr. In “Orr: My Story,” Orr shares his own story in his own words, while in “Searching for Bobby Orr” by Stephen Brunt, readers can get a broader perspective on Orr’s place in the history of hockey and his enduring legacy.
Bobby Orr was a game-changer in every sense of the word. He revolutionized the position of defenseman, bringing a new level of offensive skill and creativity to the blue line. He was a trailblazer and a pioneer, and his impact on the sport of hockey cannot be overstated.
Off the ice, Orr was known for his humility and his commitment to giving back to his community. He was a tireless advocate for children’s charities and a passionate supporter of youth hockey programs. His legacy as a player and a humanitarian will continue to inspire generations of hockey fans.
Maurice Richard: The Rocket’s Story
A beloved figure in Quebec and beyond, Maurice Richard was a trailblazing player whose legacy lives on today. In “The Rocket: A Cultural History of Maurice Richard,” Benoît Melançon explores Richard’s impact on Quebecois culture and his significance as a symbol of French-Canadian pride and identity.
Maurice Richard was more than just a hockey player – he was a cultural icon. He represented the hopes and aspirations of a generation of Quebecois, and his impact on the province’s culture and identity cannot be overstated. Richard was a trailblazer on and off the ice, and his legacy as a player and a cultural icon continues to inspire and resonate with people today.
Richard’s impact on the sport of hockey was equally significant. He was a fierce competitor and a natural goal-scorer, and his style of play paved the way for future generations of players. He was a true legend of the game, and his legacy will continue to be celebrated for years to come.
Hockey Fiction and Novels
For those looking for a different kind of hockey book, fiction and novels set in the world of hockey offer a chance to explore the sport from a unique perspective. Hockey has always been a sport that has captured the imagination of people all over the world. From the fast-paced action on the ice to the intense rivalries between teams and players, hockey has always been an exciting and thrilling sport to watch and follow.
The Game by Ken Dryden
Although memoirs are technically non-fiction, “The Game” by Ken Dryden reads like a novel. Written by the Hall of Fame goalie, “The Game” tells the story of the 1978-79 season of the Montreal Canadiens; a team that Dryden played for. The book weaves hockey lore with the on and off-ice lives of the players and coach, Scotty Bowman.
Ken Dryden’s “The Game” is not just a book about hockey, but a book about life. The book is filled with stories of triumph and heartbreak, of camaraderie and conflict, and of the intense pressure that comes with being a professional athlete. Through his words, Dryden takes the reader on a journey through the ups and downs of a hockey season, and shows us what it truly means to be a part of a team.
The Boys of Winter by Wayne Coffey
This non-fiction book tells the story of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team, which famously defeated the Soviet Union in the “Miracle on Ice.” Drawing on interviews with the players, coaches, and others involved in the team, Coffey captures the drama and excitement of this historic moment.
The “Miracle on Ice” was more than just a hockey game; it was a moment that brought a nation together. Wayne Coffey’s “The Boys of Winter” not only captures the excitement of that moment, but also tells the story of the players who made it happen. Through their stories, we see the dedication, sacrifice, and hard work that it takes to become a champion.
The Breakaway by Kelly Jamieson
For those who prefer their hockey books with a romantic twist, “The Breakaway” by Kelly Jamieson is a great choice. The novel follows the story of Axl, a rising star in the NHL, and Karen, the beautiful and ambitious sports reporter who falls for him. Their romance is complicated by the pressures of Axl’s career and the machinations of those around them.
“The Breakaway” is not just a romance novel, but a story about the challenges that come with being a professional athlete. Kelly Jamieson’s book shows us the sacrifices that Axl and Karen must make in order to pursue their dreams, and the obstacles that they must overcome in order to be together. Through their story, we see the power of love and the importance of following your heart.
Hockey Coaching and Strategy Books
For coaches, players, and anyone interested in the tactical side of hockey, books on coaching and strategy offer a wealth of information and insights.
Coaching Hockey Successfully by Dave Chambers
This comprehensive guide to coaching hockey covers everything from basic skills to advanced strategies, and is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their coaching chops. The book includes tips on how to motivate players, build team cohesion, and develop winning game plans.
The Hockey Playbook by Ryan Walter
The former NHL captain and coach offers a detailed guide to the X’s and O’s of hockey in this book. With a focus on strategy and tactics, “The Hockey Playbook” is a great resource for coaches, players, and anyone interested in learning more about the game.
The Art of Scouting by Shane Malloy
For those interested in the process of finding and evaluating talent, “The Art of Scouting” by Shane Malloy offers a deep dive into the world of hockey scouting. With interviews and insights from scouts and executives across the NHL, the book offers a unique perspective on how the best players in the game are identified and developed.
Conclusion: Find Your Perfect Hockey Book
No matter what your interests or preferences, there is a hockey book out there for you. From memoirs of the game’s early pioneers to biographies of its greatest players to novels set in the world of hockey, the world of hockey literature is rich and varied. So why not find your perfect hockey book today, and deepen your love and understanding of this incredible sport?