The Bolo Tie Collective has been pretty busy these last few weeks with submissions and acquisitions for Volume 3 of our anthology. In the midst of all this hard work, it seems like a good time for another reading list, one focused on the here and now. With it being midwinter and just over the halfway point of the NHL season, that means hockey. So here you go… six awesome books about the greatest sport in the world.
The classic 1983 book by the Hall-of-Famer and former Habs goalie, which helped launch Dryden’s post-hockey career as a writer. A behind-the-scenes look at the 1978-79 Montreal Canadiens, who would win their fourth consecutive championship that year. Nominated for a Governor General’s award, it’s been ranked among the greatest sports books ever written.
Another classic hockey tale, this non-fiction short story by Quebec author Roch Carrier was adapted by the NFB into an equally classic animated short in 1980. Carrier recalls being mistakenly sent a Maple Leafs sweater (instead of a Habs sweater) and the embarrassment of having to wear it, in Quebec, in the 1940s. Kid Roch then prays to God to destroy it. Fun fact: a line from this story used to appear on our $5 bill from 2002 to 2013.
Canada isn’t the only country that loves hockey. This novel (the only fiction on this list) by the author of the bestseller A Man Called Ove was translated and published in English last year. As a dying Swedish town pins its hopes on its junior hockey team, an act of brutal violence threatens to rip the community apart.
As we’re based in Edmonton, at least one Oilers book had to make it on this list. Given that the game’s greatest talent played here, there are quite a few to choose from. This one looks at a Wayne Gretzky record that will probably never be broken: 50 goals in 39 games in the 1981-82 season, with goals 46 to 50 coming in one game on December 30, 1981 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
And now for some American content. This book about the 1980 Miracle on Ice looks at the amateurs and unconventional coach who made up the team that would upset the Soviets at Lake Placid on its way to winning the Olympic gold medal.
For all the stirring stories of championships and records, there’s always room for the players whose success is more modest. In his second hockey book (the first was Hockey Card Stories), Sportsnet’s Ken Reid talks to former players who have the distinction of playing exactly one NHL game.