What can a hockey fan do in the off season to get their hockey fix? Well, you can keep up with your team news on their web site. There is always Twitter or NHL, ESPN, Sportscenter, etc. Too bad Sportscenter & ESPN tend to focus on other areas when the boys of winter are on hiatus.
Sure, I follow horse racing and some coworkers are in to NASCAR (still don’t get that endless circling around over & over gain, but whatever makes your happy).
Here’s a suggestion: read a book. There are some wonderful books out there about the sport we love. Just to get you started, I’ve listed some of my personal picks. There are a couple I haven’t actually read yet (the few are on my To Be Read , or TBR, pile). Currently, I’m working my way through Bernd Bruckler’s “This is Russia: Life in the KHL” which I am enjoying the hell out of.
The first book about my favorite NHL ice hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, is a fantasy in paper. The book is full of trivia, photographs, and history. Each player who wore the teal is in the book with a photo and any numbers worn listed. The story of how the team developed, the first yer at the Cow Palace, and the subsequent Shark Tank years are all documented. The bets part is a section dedicated to the fans in a group of photographs: even Princess Diana, William & Harry are included – with William wearing a Sharks hat...one more reason to love the future King of England!
A Decade of Teal: 10 Years with the San Jose Sharks/2001 Tenth Anniversary
By Ken Arnold (editor)
Jan 2001 Woodford Publishing
ISBN (general) 0-87833-102-6
This book was issued in three different editions: a general, a limited (numbered) and collectors (was autographed). I have the limited version. It’s a history book about the team, filled with photographs – some available in the other books and others unique to this text. Most are black & white but that doesn’t distract from the delightful reading. The author taps in to George Gund, and one picture has George on the ice, showing his love of the game. One of my favorite parts is a fold-out section of pictures from the Sharks magazine of covers.
Feeding Frenzy!: The Wild New World of the San Jose Sharks by Steve Cameron
Taylor Publishing December 1978
This is a children’s book profiling the San Jose Sharks.
San Jose Sharks
By Joan St. Peter
1996 Creative Education
This book on the Sharks covers the team’s first twenty years. Although it could have more in depth, it has a wonderful selection of photos. Every player who had worn a teal sweater is listed, along with each number he used which is great for memorabilia collectors. Each year is reviewed, with stats given. Even the training staff isn’t overlooked. Not one to be left off your shelf if you are a Sharks fan!
20 Years of Teal: A History of the San Jose Sharks
Editor and Chief Writer is Tony Khing
2010 Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment
I haven’t read this one yet but it’s on my list. I included it because Slapshot is one of my favorite movies. I did see the Hanson Brothers at a San Francisco Spiders game. The Spiders played at the Cow Palace back in the 1990’s but folded after one season. Darn shame, too, for the games were inexpensive and the team fun to watch. I think I must have gone to at least 20 games that year. Any how, the book discusses the making of, trivia, how the characters were based on, and the town of Charleston.
The Making of Slapshot: Behind the Scenes of the Greatest Hockey Movie Ever Made
By Jonathan Jackson
October 2010, Wiley Publishing
I read this as a teenager and loved his story then. Stan’s triumph over his escape from the Iron Curtin to become a hockey legend was inspiring. You won’t be disappointed.
Stan Mikita: the Turbulent Career of a Hockey Superstar
By Stan Fischler
1969 Cowles Book Company
A feast for the eyes, who doesn’t love Wayne Gretzky and perusing his collection of pictures accompanied by Wayne’s own thoughts to tell his life story make this a great read. My favorite photo is on page 118 (you’ll just have to look to see what it shows). I was fortunate enough to see the Great One play during his career. He had magic hands and no one, but maybe Mario, could out skate him. Wayne remains a force in hockey to this day. You'll love the photos of him as a young boy and the picture of him at the news conference announcing the trade from the Oilers to the Kings is amazing. His emotion comes though. Wayne explains how he felt that day with the commentary. Don't miss this one!
Wayne Gretzky: The Authorized Pictorial Biography
By Jim Taylor
November 1994 Firefly Books
For some general hockey history, here are a couple of books that will give you a nice, well-rounded view of the sport, the players, coaches, owners, trainers, leagues, and just about anything else hockey-related.
Sports Illustrated: The Hockey Book
Editors of Sports Illustrated
The Official Illustrated NHL History: The Story of the Coolest Game on Earth
By Arthur Pincus
October 1999, Triumph Books
If there is a goalie that changed the game, then Jacques Plante is the man. This book is on my reading list, so I can’t say much more.
Jacques Plante: the Man Who Changed the Face of Hockey
By Todd Denault
October 2010 McCleland & Stewart
This book includes some great individual profiles with cumulative career stats of the goalies. Wonderful photographs show the progression of goalie style and equipment. Not one to be missed, this is one of my favorite general knowledge books.
A Breed Apart – the Illustrated History of Goaltending
By Douglas Hunter
1995 Triumph Books
The Hockey Heroes series of biographies
Any book by Don Cherry
The Hockey News (I’ve been reading it since 1990)
There are many more authors, some that cover controversial topics within the sport. Explore the written word and see what you can find. Every team has a shelf of books about their present and past star players as wells as its history. Don’t forget the international arena (other countries and the Olympics).
Happy reading and stay safe out there!