NHL as we know it—save for a crowd and the fact we’re still in a pandemic—starts this week, everything is finally back up and running, and to get back into the saddle of things why not get some coffee table reads while you get back comfy in front that TV of yours?
Here we have five hockey-related books of recommendations, whether I’ve been reading them or have been seeing recommended about and has caught my fancy. I’ve been trying to pick ones that aren’t as obvious but either way, I hope they ignite your love for hockey again!
Beartown • Fredrik Backman
Beartown is about the uphill battle of hockey’s pressure and importance in a small town in Sweden. Everything from parental pressure and control, long riding friendships now terse, and the typical struggles of high school, leading to a town full of secrets and mystery. When that turmoil that’s been building and building finally bursts with pressure.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m trying to search up book fiction hockey books online, I am thrown with a bountiful amount of erotica. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you’re into that kind of thing you’ve got a vast library ahead of you. Still, I am here for fighting for more hockey fiction that’s all about the full focus of hopes and dreams and how my favourite sport can be motivating for all of us whether we play ourselves or not. Beartown is the holy grail. By and large, it’s the pedestal of what hockey fiction should aim to be, in my opinion anyway. Heck! It has it’s own TV show now! The great thing is it isn’t just a hockey story, no, it’s a mystery, it’s a coming of age tale, and I think we need a lot more of that, but this is a good start.
Check, Please! • Ngozi Ukazu
Eric Bittle, ex-figure skater turned hockey player starts his new sport in his freshman year in Samwell University. It follows this baking-loving player and his journey through his growth with being a fresh hockey player and juggling that with his new-born crush on his teammate and captain of the Samwell University hockey team.
My favourite web comic and let me tell you when it was published as a paperback, I was full of glee. There isn’t much of that out here, hockey comics I mean, and having it bend the hockey traditions rules it’s truly something else.
The Hockey Dad Chronicles: An Indentured Parent’s Season on the Rink • Ed Wenck
Hockey Dads are a famous breed. This book entails the chronicles of being a father of a young youth hockey player of his son when he played for the Indianapolis Junior Ice. It’s witty, funny, even stressful at times as we get another tinge of respect for the hockey parents out there.
My brother and I have this joke, as the main figure in his life that got him into hockey and to be the university hockey player that he is today in the middle of England, a place that the sport is still slowly just about growing. We joke that I’m the ‘Hockey Dad’ of the family. I’m the one grumbling with a beer can in one hand and shouting at the screen with my phone live-tweeting the game in the other—the Dad, indeed. So by Christmas, he got me this book. It doesn’t seem much but a bright glossy lime piece about being a part of something special as a hockey parent. (What a job! Even a hypothetical one) But here’s the deal, it’s witty, it’s full of humour that makes you snort and cackle, it takes you onto a whole new perspective of the game in Timbits hockey equivalent and onwards through the years, heck you’re growing up with the kid!
Everyday Hockey Heroes: Inspiring Stories On and Off the Ice • Bob McKenzie, Jim Lang
A collection of inspiring hockey stories from some memorable names in the NHL to the twinkle-eyed full of bright future youth players. You’ll be left feeling full of heartfelt emotions and left completely inspired.
A little backstory, I wrote up a series for Chasing The Puck about how the guys in the EIHL (specifically the Guildford Flames) inspire the fans through their challenging work and struggles. I needed help in what I was looking for, and this book was growing virtual dust on my TBR list. It’s truly something else, a whole different perspective on life, maybe because an athlete’s mindset has been set in stone since they were young, but it is what it is, and that’s special.
One Game at a Time: My Journey from Small-Town Alberta to Hockey’s Biggest Stage • Harnarayan Singh
Harnarayan Singh grew up in a little old town in Alberta, Canada, and just like any other kid in Alberta, dreaming about the life of their hockey idols on TV. As someone who didn’t look like any other kid or those on TV, there was more a struggle to reach his goal. This is a tale how this kid grew up and made history as the first Sikh to broadcast an NHL game.
A side of hockey we don’t hear. Full of strength, heartache and lots of tales to fill you with admiration. As a person of colour myself with love for (arguably) the best sport we know, this is a book that reminds me that there’s more tale out there that relate to me and seeing people with similar boundaries can be all that more inspiring when they succeed.