Hockey romances are a sports romance sub-genre where the leading men are hockey players. It blends sports drama with all our favorite romantic tropes—can I get a cheer for slow-burn and enemies-to-lovers? Better yet, these romances often come with plenty of sneaking around and illicit relationships that will get your pulse racing. Check out our ultimate guide to the twenty best hockey romance books that, even if things are staying cool on the ice, are sure to melt your heart.
The Best Hockey Romance Books
A Favor For A Favor – Helena Hunting
Bishop has just joined Seattle’s NHL expansion team and he could not be more thrilled about it. But he should have realized that nothing ever goes to plan. Take his introduction to his new neighbor for example.
At a ridiculously late time of 12 am, she came stumbling and sneaking into his team captain’s apartment, making a horrendous racket while doing so.
This was made all the more surprising considering the team captain had a wife…and she certainly wasn’t her. Only, it turns out she isn’t quite the mystery mistress Bishop thought she was.
It’s actually his team captain’s sister…oops. When a surprise injury puts Bishop on the bench for several weeks, it is none other than his captain’s sister who comes to his aid. Despite the obvious distaste for each other, the pair decide to strike up a deal.
She’ll rehab Bishop and get him back on his feet, and skates, and in return, she’ll finally have an unrelated professional athlete to add to her client list. Simple enough, right? It’s not like there are any feelings to get in the way…
- Enemies To Lovers – If you’re a fan of this trope you’ll adore the tension-building and slow-burn of this book.
- Hilarious – With tons of laugh-out-loud moments this story is sure to have you in stitches.
- Dual POV – Get glimpses and a better understanding of the mindsets of both characters.
- More Character Development Needed – The character’s actions or dialogue can sometimes seem out of place which makes the story as a whole a little less believable.
Boyfriend Bargain – Ilsa Madden-Mills
Sugar Ryan is broke. She’s pretty desperate too. So even though she detests nothing more than arrogant bad-boy athletes who think they run the world, she plans to strike a bargain with the worst of them all – Zach Morgan.
Zach Morgan thinks he’s not only king of the ice but the whole entire world. But that world is turned upside down when Sugar just seemingly pops up wherever he is. It’s like he can’t escape her.
She’s at frat parties, his favorite bars, and now she’s at his door. Sugar strikes her deal and the couple agrees to put up the pretenses of dating. The only rule? No falling in love.
And to this bad-boy serial dater’s surprise, it’s he who cannot stick to the rules. But with the reputation of breaking hearts left, right, and center, Sugar won’t go willingly. Will this player end up getting played? Or can this hockey star score the girl?
- Faux Dating – This trope is always a fan favorite. The forced proximity, the developing feelings, it’s all there.
- Mental Health – Mental health themes are tackled sensitively and honestly throughout the novel.
- Palpable Chemistry – The chemistry between these two characters is astounding. It’s so well-written and you can actually feel it radiating off them.
- All Chemistry No Substance – At times it feels a little like chemistry is all this couple has. It would have been nice to have seen a bit of a deeper connection.
Garret – Sawyer Bennett
Garret Samuelson, the Carolina Cold Fury super-star is known for making every minute count and seeking out all the fun. On and off the rink.
He adores living life to the fullest, and when he sets eyes on the stunning Olivia Case he is sure of his next conquest.
Only, she’s not like any of the other girls he’s met before, and without even trying she seems to be breaking down all his walls. He shows her a side of himself that no other adoring fan-girl has had the pleasure of seeing.
But Olivia is harboring a deep secret. Undergoing treatment for numerous serious medical issues, she has to live every day as her last.
As it very well could be. Understanding the severity of her situation, Olivia is determined not to get too close. She doesn’t have the time for any relationship, and certainly not one with a womanizer who offers no guarantees.
When it comes to Garret, though, there’s just something about him. She can’t stay away. And sure enough, she starts to fall for him. And letting him in on this secret involves risking it all.
But as any hockey player would tell you, you can’t score if you don’t take the occasional risk!
- Super Emotional – This book deals with some tough and sensitive topics that involve some gut-wrenching moments that will have you grabbing the tissues.
- The Softer Side – Many of the novels in this genre involve troubled angsty protagonists, and while this is somewhat true for this book, it is refreshing to see the softer and more sensitive side of men which is not often portrayed.
- Satisfying Ending – The book moves at a great pace and the epilogue is absolutely amazing.
- A Little Cheesy – This book does have a few cheesy and ‘cringe-worthy’ moments that won’t be for everyone.
Good Boy – Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Jess Canning is hosting her brother’s wedding for an MVP guest list, and already branded as the family screw-up she is determined to ensure that everything goes right.
Not only does she have all this to contend with but she’s also desperate to keep hidden the secret of her spring fling with the incredibly handsome best man. Blake Riley couldn’t be more excited about this wedding.
He’s the best man, she’s the maid of honor, it couldn’t be any more perfect. And despite her obvious resistance, Blake is determined to win her over.
He’s more than just a professional hockey player with a bad-boy reputation. She just needs to see it. But with a wedding to ensure goes smoothly, Jess barely has time to think. Let alone consider the beginning of a new relationship.
- Hilarious – Beware when reading this book in public because it will have you laughing out loud all the time.
- Best Book Boyfriend – Blake Riley! Caring, loyal, sweet, handsome, cheeky, and flirty. These authors have compiled everything you’d look for in a man in the form of this character. Good luck not falling in love.
- Lovely & Light – If you’re looking for a light-hearted lovely romance story that doesn’t heavily revolve around dark and dreary themes then this is the book for you.
- LackLuster Heroine – For such an amazing hero, it sometimes feels like Jess falls flat. It can be hard to connect and really root for her at times.
Pipe Dreams – Sarina Bowen
Mike Beacon is the ultimate hockey defender, if only he was as good at saving the course of his life as he is the puck from the net. As a widower and a single father, it’s safe to say that things aren’t exactly going to plan.
He also can’t keep the lovely Lauren Williams, the ex whose heart he shattered, out of his mind. And when she suddenly appears in the Bruiser’s office during the playoffs, he sees the perfect opportunity to right all his wrongs.
Only Mike isn’t the only person who’s good at the defensive game. Lauren is determined to focus only on her plans for the future and refuses to get sucked back into Mike’s world. She won’t let him break her heart again.
But can tension and chemistry this strong simply be ignored? After a trip to Florida, it appears not. But Mike still has another obstacle to beat, his disapproving teenage daughter.
But as any professional hockey player knows, you can’t waste even a single second when you see the chance to make your shot.
- Second Chance Romance – If you are a fan of a second-chance trope, you’ll fall head over heels for this novel.
- Well-Developed Characters – There’s so much character development throughout the novel and each character is clear and distinct.
- Fast-Paced – This plot definitely gets going straight away. It’s full of action and easy to follow.
- A Little Predictable – If you’re a fan of hockey romances, it’s likely that you’ll see where this story is headed pretty quickly.
Heated Rivalry – Rachel Reid
Shane Hollander is the captain of the Montreal Voyageurs, and he will let nothing stand in the way of that coveted position. Ilya Rozanov, captain of the Boston Bears, is much more showboating about his talents.
He’s the self-declared ‘King of the ice.’ No one can come close to his talents – except for his rival Shane. To the public, they are mortal enemies. In private, they have a secret relationship.
But as the faces of the NHL, they are required to keep up the appearances of arch-nemesis. The smart thing to do would be to just walk away. This secret could ruin them both. But the head cannot control the heart.
And sooner or later, this will be a secret that can no longer be hidden. What will they do then?
- Tons Of Tropes – There’s literally everything you could want in terms of tropes in this novel. Rivals to lovers, forbidden love, opposites attract, and a slow burn.
- Tackles Important Themes – The book touches on important themes such as the impact of homophobia, grief, mental health, and illness. All is done in a respectful, honest, and raw manner.
- LGBTQ+ Representation – Not only does this book represent the LGBTQ+ community but it also presents the struggles that this marginalized group faces in everyday life.
- Pacing Issues – A slow burn won’t be for everyone and it can take around 2/3rds before the story reaches its climax which may be off-putting to some readers.
The Risk – Elle Kennedy
Brenna Jenson tells it how it is. She isn’t ruled by fear, and she certainly doesn’t care what others think of her. But dating the enemy? Even that’s too far for this self-proclaimed bag girl.
As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, she’d never live it down if she got together with a player from a rival team. And the rival hockey player in question is none other than Jake Connely.
Harvard’s star forward. He’s everything that’s wrong with athletes these days. Arrogant. Irritating. Annoyingly handsome and knows it. But when Brenna requires his help to secure an internship, she must do the unthinkable.
Not for real, of course, it’s all a pretense. There’s a catch though, for every fake date Jake wants a real one in return. If there’s one thing that Brenna’s certain about, it’s that only trouble can come from this deal.. But it’s a risk she’s willing to take.
- Dual POV – You’ll get to see the insights and mindsets of both characters in this format.
- Tons Of Tropes – A slow burn, rivals to lovers, and a fake relationship all rolled into one amazing story.
- Strong Female Lead – The heroine of this story doesn’t need anyone to save her, she is independent, strong-willed, and a fantastic role model to aspire to.
- Lacks Substance – While a light and enjoyable read the plot misses any real depth, drama, or conflict.
Cannon – Samantha Whiskey
Cannon Price is a well-known NHL player, but his real legacy lies in his fierce and unpredictable temper. He’s one of the most feared skaters of all time.
And nothing could prepare him for waking up after an insane night in Vegas hitched to none other than the head of his team’s charitable foundation. Persephone VanDoren couldn’t be any more different from Cannon.
She’s super sweet, stunning, wealthy, and all-around perfect. Everything that Cannon has grown to despise. But despite her irritatingly sharp tongue and privileged background, he still feels drawn to her.
The chemistry and tension between the pair are undeniable but deny their connection Cannon must for he has dark demons that haunt him.
While Persephone has a desperate need to make this marriage appear real, Cannon must remember that it can never be.
While the world sees Cannon as Persephone’s personal Hades, he’ll go to all lengths to ensure that this princess gets her happily ever after.
- Modern Day Hades & Persephone – This perfectly balanced light and dark novel is a really unique take on the classic Hades and Persephone tale.
- Emotional Rollercoaster – This book can seamlessly have you laughing and crying at the same time. With many humorous moments but tons of angst and heartbreak, you’ll feel every emotion possible.
- Stereotypical – If you’re growing tired of the standard overprotective male that saves the innocent and wide-eyed damsel, you may not enjoy this storyline.
Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton
Jenna Riley is doomed to run her family’s sports bar while her brothers live lives of athletic superstardom. She’s determined not to introduce more sports to her life—until hockey pro Tyler Anderson meanders into the bar. Sparks fly between the two, and suddenly, Ty’s a regular. But will Jenna put aside her pride and give in to passion?
Jaci Burton’s Taking a Shot is a steamy, succinct read with leads who dazzle.
Be sure to pick up your copy here.
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
You’ll fall in love with this standalone hockey romance about a type-A woman who’s about to make the deal of a lifetime to catch her crush’s attention.
Hannah Wells needs a fake date to reel in her crush. She’ll do anything to secure it—even tolerate tutoring the arrogant hockey captain with a GPA in a nosedive. Garrett Graham just needs to get his grade up and is willing to work with Hannah to do that. But tutoring turns to something wilder, and soon, Garrett realizes pretend won’t work. Can he convince Hannah?
Discover the answer when you read The Deal here.
The New Guy by Sarina Bowen
Sarina Bowen’s addictive yet emotional The New Guy brings the perfect blend of drama and desire to the rink.
Hudson Newgate is tired of being the new guy. It was Chicago, then Vancouver, and now, Hudson’s last shot is in Brooklyn. To save his career, he needs to focus—not hook up with Gavin, the new athletic trainer in his building. They need to stay apart, but it turns out that for as good as Hudson and Gavin are at their jobs, they’re bad at resisting each other.
You can find The New Guy here.
Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
If you love The Deal and The New Guy, you won’t want to miss Him, a heartfelt team-up between Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy.
This read-in-one-sitting romance follows hockey player Jamie Canning in the wake of a ruined friendship. Sure, things were strange between Jamie and Ryan during hockey camp, but they were eighteen and drunk. Still, their one-night stand lingers, even as they reunite to coach at the same camp. Can they repair their friendship and turn it into something more?
Find out when you grab a copy of Him for yourself here.
Harmless by Nicole Edwards
Roan Gregory has a secret, and it’s the same secret that Austin Arrows defenseman Colton Seguine holds. Colton is a pro at hiding his sexuality—that is until his world collides with Roan’s. Things get steamy when they meet, but with their secrets competing, Roan and Colton can’t tell if they’re going to save or destroy each other.
You can find your copy of Harmless here.
Taking Shots by Toni Aleo
Keep the heat high with Toni Aleo’s Taking Shots, a searing romance between a bad boy and a stubborn woman.
After leaving an abusive relationship, Elleanor Fisher has sleep-walked through life. But when she meets NHL player Shea Adler at a promo shoot, she suddenly wakes up. Shea’s reaction is no different—he’s bowled over. Shea realizes they’re perfect for each other, yet with Elli’s past haunting them, ghosts might ruin their shot at love.
Find Taking Shots here.
See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson
By day, single gal Jane covers the wild Seattle Chinooks hockey team—including the exploits of famous goalie Luc Martineau. By night, though, Jane writes a scandalous magazine that has the guys talking.
Luc isn’t into Jane—he isn’t into reporters at all. He only cares about hockey, and Jane’s getting in the way. But when he sees her on a night out, wearing a little red dress, Luc’s world is turned upside down. Will the sight ignite something else between them?
Take a shot on See Jane Score, found here.
Simply Irresistible by Rachel Gibson
In Rachel Gibson’s second book in our guide, Southern belle Georgeanne Howard flees her wedding, and hockey superstar John Kowalsky unwittingly helps her. He only realizes he drove the getaway car for his boss’ bride when it’s too late. Yet temptation calls on the long road. And only years later does John realize the truth: their one-night stand led to a daughter.
Find out if Georgeanne and John can get their happily ever after here.
A Lie for a Lie by Helena Hunting
Skate into this second-chance rom-com from New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting.
Sometimes, Rook needs a break from the pressures of being an NHL captain. When he embarks to Alaska for some R&R, he doesn’t expect a drop-dead gorgeous woman to ignite his world. Rook and Lainey’s instant attraction turns into a month-long affair until an emergency calls Rook back to Chicago with no way to contact Lainey. But when a chance encounter reunites them, can Rook and Lainey find the same spark again?
Pick up A Lie for a Lie here.
Off Sides by Sawyer Bennett
Ryan and Danny couldn’t be more different. Ryan is a US Congressman’s son and captain of his college’s hockey team, forced to pursue what satisfies his parents. Danny had to abandon her music career when her parents died. But when their worlds meet, each reevaluates their path to happiness. Could the answer to pleasure be each other?
See their romance unfold here.
Playing for Keeps by Kendall Ryan
For fans of the brother’s-best-friend trope, Kendall Ryan’s Playing for Keeps is a must-read.
Elise is off-limits. She’s the beautiful and stunningly sweet younger sister of Justin’s teammates, but amidst an alcohol-fueled celebration, Justin and Elise hook up. Elise thinks Justin doesn’t remember their one-night stand, but every detail is on replay. Now, Justin has one shot to convince Elise that he’s playing for keeps.
You can find Playing for Keeps here.
Off the Ice by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
NHL superstar Tristan Holt is always one play ahead: to prepare for eventual retirement, he focuses on earning his business degree. He’s not prepared for his sexy sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz, who sets his world alight. When the semester ends, mutual fantasies become reality. But with Tristan unwilling to come out and Sebastian being open about his sexuality, can their relationship go the distance?
You can find Off the Ice here.
Goalie Interference by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
Fulfill your rivalry romance dreams with Goalie Interference, a delightful and different story about two competing goalies.
Ryu Mori is expecting to start—not to compete against an annoying rookie for his spot on the ice. He has a fierce rival in Emmitt Armstrong, who isn’t about to waste his shot. Their egos clash, but what starts as banter becomes something else. Ryu and Emmitt discover that for as much as they annoy each other in the rink, they also might be better partners than they ever imagined.
Find your copy here.
Iced Out by CE Ricci
If you adored Goalie Interference, Iced Out is another must-add for your TBR.
Oakley and Quinton have been rivals for as long as they’ve been playing hockey. For as much as they’re at each other’s throats, they agree they’ll do anything to win. And after they fall into bed together and start to win game after game, it’s only sensible to keep hooking up. Right?
For plenty of banter, enemies-to-lover, and spice, pick up Iced Out here.
Power Play by Maria Luis
Devour this flirty, fast-paced rom-com from Maria Luis, a book that’s sure to make you laugh out loud and swoon.
Charlie’s struggling to keep her career in sports journalism afloat. Duke Harrison used to be the NHL’s buzziest goalie. To save her job, Charlie needs to secure an exclusive interview with the reclusive Duke, who is determined to block her shot at every given opportunity. What starts as an interview turns into something sexier, and soon, the story falls by the wayside.
Be sure to grab Power Play here.
Hearts on Ice by Janae Keys
America’s Ice Princess and hockey’s bad boy come together in Janae Keys’ Hearts on Ice, a romance that excels in character chemistry and suspense.
Lia Crestwood and Max Madden were in their prime when injuries brought their careers to a screeching halt. When they meet at the same sports rehab center, they both have wounds to heal. And as their attraction burns hot, Lia and Max realize they might be able to heal something within each other.
You can find Hearts on Ice here.
Icebreaker by Hannah Grace
Hannah Grace’s New York Times bestseller Icebreaker has taken TikTok by storm, so you’ll want to be sure to add it to your TBR.
Sparks fly when a hockey team captain and figure skater are forced to share a rink. Anastasia is determined to make Team USA, and Nate needs to keep his team on the ice. When a mishap forces them onto the same ice, Anastasia instantly dislikes Nate. Yet soon, Anastasia’s skating partner faces an injury—and she has to look to Nate to save her dreams.
Be sure to grab Icebreaker here.
Game Changer by Rachel Reid
Ever dreamt of a hockey player sweeping you away from your minimum wage service industry job? Rachel Reid’s Game Changer is the book you’ve been waiting for.
New York Admirals captain Scott Hunter has a routine before games, and it doesn’t just include a lucky smoothie. He’s enthralled by the man behind the counter, barista Kip Grady. As they get to know each other, their relationship goes beyond Kip’s wildest dreams. From penthouse hook-ups to steamy messages, Scott and Kip have it all. But how long will Scott keep Kip a secret?
Pick up Game Changer here.
Gravity by Tal Bauer
Hockey has taken Bryce from his Quebec hometown to the number one player in the NHL league. Yet amongst his success, he has impossible daydreams that could shatter his career: dreams that look a lot like Hunter, a gorgeous fellow NHL player. When they meet at All-Star weekend, hours on the ice and friendship turn into kisses and more. Can their careers survive what their hearts desire?
See the answer for yourself when you pick up Tal Bauer’s Gravity here.
Always Only You by Chloe Liese
Fall hard for this laugh-out-loud, slow-burn romance about opposite personalities who begin a forbidden romance.
Ren and Frankie are co-workers, technically: he’s a player on the team, and she’s on the staff. They can’t be together. Ren is willing to wait until Frankie moves on to bigger and brighter things, but as their attraction becomes undeniable, can they last until one person quits?
With a nerdy guy lead and a woman grappling with her autism diagnosis, Always Only You is a unique romance that will stay with you long after you finish.
Find your copy here.
Gage by Sawyer Bennett
Gage left the world of professional hockey, only to be called back when a plane crash devastates the Titans team. Now, he must harness an old passion to rebuild the team. And as he learns to love hockey again, he also falls for Titans staff member Jenna, a shy woman who’s slow to trust. Can Gage get the championship and the girl?
Grab Sawyer Bennett’s Gage here.
Hockey Romance Books Buyers Guide
When it comes to selecting the best hockey romance, it’ll need to be the right novel for you. Let’s take a look at some of the things to take into consideration before opting for your next novel.
Light & Laughable/Deep & Dark
Typically, with this particular genre, you’ve got two main options. With that being said, you can sometimes find books that combine the two or have a happy-ish medium, but for the most part, it will usually be predominantly one or the other.
So, you can opt for a light read that is filled with humorous moments. These are often easy to read and involve contrasting characters that force each other into crazy situations.
The plot typically revolves around developing the relationship between the two leading characters. The conflict frequently arises from miscommunication or misunderstandings.
Alternatively, you can opt for deeper and darker novels. These types of books regularly involve a lot of angst and mature themes. Characters will frequently come from troubled backgrounds and have unsettling pasts.
The conflict in these novels typically arises as these characters battle with underlying issues. Often these books are not a light read but they do contain more substance and depth to the plot line.
Pick Your Trope
Any avid reader will often have a preference for the romantic trope that is evident throughout the novel.
It’s worth researching the type of trope to see if the novel will be something that is of interest to you. Below you will find the most common tropes within this genre:
- Enemies to Lovers/Rivals to Lovers – This trope regularly comes hand-in-hand with a slow burn. The tension is slowly and surely developed with each and every chapter. Opposing team relationships are very common in hockey romance novels.
- Fake Dating/Forced Proximity – Two characters who seem ultimately wrong for each other find themselves in a situation where they must feign their love to achieve a particular goal. These are common in hockey romance novels where a more privileged character can open up an opportunity for a more marginalized character.
- Forbidden Love – Two characters have obvious and palpable chemistry but due to their circumstances, they cannot be together. The pair must overcome the adversities for true love to prevail. This is often seen in hockey romance when the couple works together. It also often links back to the rival-to-lovers trope.
If you’re simply looking for an enjoyable plot then you can really pick any hockey romance novel and succeed. However, for some readers, you may be hoping to see the representation of a character that resonates closer to home.
And there are tons of options out there. There are novels that feature LGBTQ+ representation in men love men or women love women hockey romance books.
There are hockey romance novels that feature neurodivergent representation, for example, one of the books featured in this list stars an autistic heroine.
You can also find head-strong female leads rather than the typical stereotypical damsel in distress, or a sensitive and caring hero as opposed to a cold and standoffish bad boy.
Readers tend to find a style of format that they find most comforting and enjoyable to read.
For example, some really enjoy a 3rd-person narrative while others might find that they only truly connect with characters when written in a more intimate first-person narrative.
Similarly, some readers can find dual POVs jarring, disruptive, and confusing while others feel that they add far more depth and insight into the two leading roles throughout the novel.
There’s really no right or wrong answer in terms of the format you prefer. It is simply just personal preference. But it is definitely worth considering the format style before making any final decisions on your purchase, especially if you struggle with any particular style.
Hockey Ever After
You can’t avoid falling for these steamy and sweet hockey romances. From rival teammates to second chances, there’s a team for every reader—and of course, a happily ever after.
What exactly is a hockey romance?
Hockey romances are just what they say on the tin: romance novels that focus on hockey players on and off the ice, as well as their partners. With bad-boy leading men and plenty of HEA endings, what’s not to love?
Where should I begin if I’ve never read a hockey romance?
Elle Kennedy’s The Deal is a great place to start!
What if I’m more familiar with this romance subgenre?
We recommend Hannah Grace’s newer novel Icebreaker, which debuted in February 2023.
What tropes will I find in hockey romances?
There’s plenty to love here trope-wise! Of course, everything is sports-themed, but you’ll also find enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers, slow-burn romances, forbidden relationships, and more.
What Is A Hockey Romance Novel?
Hockey romance novels are a subgenre of romance novels. They primarily focus on relationships between pro athletes and a ‘regular person’ with some features of exciting games.
Do Hockey Romance Novels Have A HEA?
For the most part, hockey romance novels do tend to have happy-ever-after endings. However, as is the case with all romance novels, this can never be guaranteed.
- The 29 Best Hockey Romance Books – Ultimate Guide - March 22, 2023
- The 20 Best Poetry Books for Young Adults – Ultimate Guide - March 20, 2023
- The 30 Best Historical Romance Novelists – Top Authors - March 20, 2023